By Joe Ellis

6th Jul, 2022 | 8:10pm

Leeds United on backfoot in Charles De Ketelaere tussle as AC Milan youth interests Brugge

Leeds United could be fighting a losing battle in the race against AC Milan to sign Club Brugge attacker Charles De Ketelaere.

The 21-year-old has excelled in the Belgian league and is now likely to leave his homeland for a fresh start and the Whites have already made an offer of £25.7million plus bonuses to the Belgian champions, as reported by Gianluca Di Marzio.

But despite AC Milan offering far less for the international sensation, they could still hold the upper hand in the transfer battle in more ways than one over Leeds.

Firstly, Di Marzio also reports that Brugge are very keen on being able to sign academy duo Lukas Bjorklund and Emil Roback from the Rossoneri and could be tempted by a player plus cash deal.

That might not be something that we would be able to offer in retaliation against the Italians unless Jesse Marsch would be willing to let some of our best homegrown talent leave.

Not only would he have to be willing but Brugge would also need to be interested in the player too otherwise the deal simply doesn’t work, especially if the player themselves doesn’t want to leave for Belgium.

Secondly, AC Milan have just gone and won the Serie A which means they are not only Italian champions but also a Champions League club and we have not come remotely close to being that since our return to the Premier League.

A player of De Ketelaere’s quality should be in regular continental competition and the earliest we could offer him that is next summer of Marsch masterminds an incredible campaign with his new-look side in 2022-23.

We fear that this could be a losing battle for us but the only hope we do have is the much higher first offer we have put in so not all hope is lost yet for Marsch, Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani.

In other Leeds United news, we have agreed on a significant transfer fee with this European club to bring in our next summer signing.