Newcastle and Leeds United could reportedly look to ‘take advantage’ of AC Milan star Charles De Ketelaere’s slow start to his Rossoneri career by making a tempting January transfer swoop.
According to Dutch outlet Voetbalkrant, Premier League sides Newcastle and Leeds United are among several clubs that believe that there may be an outside chance to secure the services of AC Milan playmaker Charles De Ketelaere by proposing a bid in the January transfer market, despite the fact that the player only joined the Rossoneri last summer.
The Belgian playmaker arrived at San Siro from Club Brugge for a fee of €35 million this past summer, and there were inevitably high expectations with that. Rightly so, Milan beat off competition from a host of top European clubs to secure his signature, while the player himself pushed for a move to Lombardy.
However, the 21-year-old hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to life in Italy and has largely struggled in his first season in Serie A, registering just one assist in 16 appearances without finding the net himself.
He has failed to dislodge Real Madrid loanee, Brahim Diaz, from the starting lineup, and the latter’s recent stunning displays lately haven’t helped De Ketelaere’s case. He has also received some criticism from his own fans for appearing anonymous in games.
This is in sharp contrast to his brilliant season with Belgian top-flight champions Club Brugge last year, where he managed 18 goals and 10 assists in 49 appearances in all competitions, emerging as European football’s most in-demand prospect.
And that hasn’t changed, with the precocious Belgian talent still having no shortage of suitors. In fact, as per Voetbalkrant, there might be an opportunity to snap up De Ketelaere as early as this upcoming winter transfer window, with Newcastle and Leeds United among suitors sensing a possible deal to be done.
Newcastle United, for one, made multiple inquiries about signing Charles De Ketelaere last summer. However, the Magpies focused on reinforcing other areas of the pitch and decided against a move back then.
They are currently linked with a winter move for Leicester City playmaker James Maddison in a bid to sustain their top-four push, or maybe sneak into an unlikely title race if possible. However, with the Foxes in deep relegation trouble, it would be incredibly difficult to get the Englishman out of the King Power.
De Ketelaere could be a good alternative. He ticks a lot of boxes for Newcastle, who are in the market for young players who can grow and develop with the club, like Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak, and Sven Botman.
As for Leeds, their fans will be very familiar with him as De Ketelaere was one of their top targets for the striker position last summer, however, that long-drawn saga ended in despair for them. While the Peacocks can offer the player a chance to compete in the Premier League, with them presently on the wrong end of the table, a switch to Yorkshire would be a hard sell.
Having said that, both Premier League sides could be set for disappointment, with a recent Calciomercato report stating Milan will refuse to entertain proposals for De Ketelaere in January. However, things change quickly in football, and maybe an approach next summer could be worth trying.