Leeds United have £25.7million bid rejected for Charles de Ketelaere
Leeds United have had their first official offer for Charles de Ketelaere rejected by Club Bruges, according to Belgian journalist Alexandre Braeckman.
It had been confirmed on Tuesday night by Fabrizio Romano that the Whites had made an offer of €30million [£25.7million] plus add-ons, while the player’s preferred destination, AC Milan, were entering talks.
But it appears that that offer has been turned down after Bel RTL reporter Braeckman wrote on Twitter: “Leeds’ first offer was rejected.”
Leicester City and Southampton have both been noted as involved in the chase, but all three Premier League sides will have to overcome the Serie A champions if they are to land him.
De Ketelaere is thought to want Champions League football, which the Italians and indeed his current side can do as Belgian champions.
The finances at the San Siro are not as easy as within the English top flight, apparently giving officials at United and elsewhere continuing belief that the door is open.
It feels like the club are fighting an uphill battle here considering their first advances were knocked back by the 21-year-old and now even the official offer has been, despite being sizeable.
There is thought to be big money on offer for de Ketelaere himself at Elland Road, but just as Raphinha looks to have his heart set on Barcelona, the Belgian international wants Serie A.
The entire race therefore must hinge on whether Milan can put together an offer that satisfies Club Bruges, who are obviously not going to let their young star go on the cheap.
The Whites must have an alternative in mind since it is so far from certain that they can land him, yet they clearly want to bring in help up front.
Patrick Bamford figures to be the main man still if he can remain fit, something that was impossible for him for much of 2021/22, and Joe Gelhardt is in line for increased involvement as the club works to tie him down to a new long-term deal.
But if Victor Orta is out in the transfer market putting north of £30million on the table for a player they want as a central attacking option the decision-makers clearly feel they are short.
As this target moves further out of reach it will be important to see who else is next in line to go for.