By George Overhill

25th Jun, 2022 | 4:10pm

Leeds United serious about move for Charles de Ketelaere - Phil Hay

Leeds United are serious about pursuing a move for Club Bruge’s Charles de Ketelaer this summer, according to Phil Hay in The Athletic.

The Belgian club want €40million for the 21-year-old according to Belgian journalist Alexandre Braeckman, who says Leicester and AC Milan are also seriously interested in him.

A versatile attacking player, the Belgium international is apparently seen as a forward or a false-nine at Elland Road, and is therefore not a direct replacement for the potential exit of Raphinha.

In fact, Hay says that they are “targeting the arrival of a winger before the coming season” in addition to de Ketelaere, as Arsenal are set to “intensify” their efforts to land the Brazilian.

The Athletic reporter confirms that Serie A champions Milan could be an issue as they would be able to offer Champions League football.

The highly-rated youngster already has experience in Europe’s top club competition from his time with the Belgian champions, operating as the “fulcrum” of their attack against Manchester City, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig during the 2021/22 season.

Push

The overhaul at Elland Road looks set to continue, partly enforced by the probable exit of another star, after the sale of Kalvin Phillips to the Etihad was agreed on Friday (24 June).

De Ketelaere looks like a very exciting prospect regardless of who is leaving so it is no surprise that the club are serious about chasing him.

Extensive first team experience at a young age, which has pushed him into Roberto Martinez’s star-studded international squad, signifies the level of talent in question.

It is also no doubt encouraging for Whites fans that the club are making plans to mitigate the impact of losing Raphinha if he is to go to one of the chasing pack, considering how crucial he was last season.

Patrick Bamford is back to full fitness but there have been enough false dawns previously to know he cannot be fully relied upon to be available every game, so if the club were able to land the young Belgian star to compliment or substitute for him would provide a level of reassurance.

Add in another winger as well and the squad would be looking pretty attractive in the circumstances, even though they may have lost two of their key men.

In other Leeds United news, a Premier League rival’s behaviour has left chiefs at Elland Road baffled.