Leeds: ‘Exceptional’ £34.5m target could offer Bamford ‘support’ at Elland Road

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch in the Premier League against Manchester City

Leeds United target Charles De Ketelaere could ‘offer a bit more support’ to star striker Patrick Bamford, according to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook.

Jesse Marsch is expected to strengthen his attacking option this summer, especially as Raphinha is the subject of intense interest from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona.

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The Athletic’s reliable correspondent Phil Hay recently reported that Leeds ‘are pursuing’ De Ketelaere of Club Bruges and view him as a secondary striker or a false nine.

However, enticing the talented 21-year-old to Elland Road may prove to be a difficult task as the newly crowned Serie A champions AC Milan are also believed to be interested in him.

Belgian journalist Alexandre Braeckman has claimed that Leeds are set to table a proposal worth up to €30 million (£25.8m), while Bruges have set an asking price of €40m (£34.5m).

The west Yorkshire outfit are also believed to be keen on De Ketelaere’s teammate Noa Lang, and the possibility of a double swoop for the attacking duo remains a realistic option.

What has Crook said about De Ketelaere?

With Raphinha destined to depart Leeds following two successful seasons, the likes of Lang, Cody Gakpo and Ryan Kent are reportedly being lined up as his replacement.

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And Crook believes that De Ketelaere is being targeted to ease the goalscoring burden on Bamford, who missed the majority of 2021/22 through injury.

He told GiveMeSport: “Clearly, if they lose Raphinha, they will need to bring in a winger. And as for De Ketelaere, I think he would be coming in just to try and offer a bit more support to Patrick Bamford.”

Would De Ketelaere be a good signing?

De Ketelaere enjoyed the most productive campaign of his short career last time out, registering 18 goals and 10 assists in 49 appearances, firing his boyhood club to the Belgian league title.

The 6 foot 3 technician has also been capped eight times by World Cup semi-finalists Belgium, and his national team manager Roberto Martinez is clearly an admirer.

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“His greatest qualities are turning away and playing forward. In addition, he is very good with both feet. We shouldn’t want to pin Charles to one position too quickly,” said Martinez. “He reads the game in an exceptional way.”

To already have 120 senior club games under his belt, with 20 of those coming in the Champions League, is testament to De Ketelaere’s quality and potential, and Leeds could pull off a significant coup by signing the versatile star.

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