By Craig Scott

2nd Jul, 2022 | 9:30am

Charles De Ketelaere aware Leeds United want to sign him as 'phenomenal' verdict dropped - Phil Hay

Charles De Ketelaere’s camp are “well aware” of interest from Leeds United as they pursue a deal for the Club Brugge forward this summer, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Writing on The Athletic website on Friday (1 July), Hay reported that Leeds are set to cash in on Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, which will aid their bid to sign the 21-year-old Belgium international, who’s also wanted at AC Milan and Leicester.

It is understood that Leeds “are not making a secret of the fact they like him” but they are aware that Milan are in pole position to sign him at this stage.

Leeds reportedly see De Ketelare as an inside forward and could look at him to play as a false nine or to support Patrick Bamford if he was to join the Elland Road club this summer.

As quoted by The Athletic, Belgian journalist Sven Claes said: “He is actually an infiltrating No 8 or No 10, but rarely plays in this position.

“He is already really phenomenal in handling the ball. His decisions under pressure are often very impressive. He also knows how to use his body well in duels despite not being a block of concrete, and has unexpected movements.

“The big difference last season is he is now adding numbers to his game, which is what it’s about when push comes to shove.”

Worth a shot?

De Ketelaere has not long celebrated his 20th birthday and he’s been capped eight times by Belgium and won three Belgian league titles with Club Brugge.

After such a stunning campaign for both club and country, in which he scored in a 2-1 defeat to Italy in the Nations League third-place play-off, there’s a good chance he’ll be at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

However, it remains to be seen what club he’ll be representing in Qatar.

We cannot rule out the fact that he could stay at Brugge.

However, he’s wanted by AC Milan, Leeds and Leicester and is in the final two years of his contract with the Belgian champions.

If they’re going to sell him, they need to do it either now or in January otherwise the price will have to be significantly dropped.

Leeds should get a lot of money from selling Raphinha and Phillips so money shouldn’t be an issue for the Yorkshire club.

However, what will be an issue is that Leicester are a far safer bet if he was to join a Premier League club and AC Milan have just won Serie A and are in the Champions League group stage for next season.

Right now, we don’t see a deal happening.

But it’s worth a shot by tabling a bid.

In other Leeds United news, Hay has also suggested a loan-to-buy deal is on the cards for the Whites to seal a new midfielder signing.