Leeds United remain interested in a deal to bring Charles De Ketelaere to Elland Road in the January transfer window.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by TEAMtalk, who claim that Victor Orta has made contact with AC Milan requesting to be kept informed about their intentions for the forward, with the Spaniard believed to have made it clear that the Whites would be willing to sign the 21-year-old – even if it were on a loan – this winter.
However, the report goes on to state that, despite the Belgium international’s poor start to life at the San Siro, Milan have informed Orta that they would not be willing to sanction the attacking midfielder’s departure this winter – even on a temporary basis – as they are happy to bide their time with the €32m (£27.7m) summer signing.
Blessing in disguise
While it is undeniable that De Ketelaere is a player who boasts a considerable amount of potential for future development, considering just how poor the 21-year-old has been in Italy so far this season, the news that Milan are not willing to loan Leeds the Belgian in January is arguably a blessing in disguise for Jesse Marsch’s side.
Indeed, over his 13 Serie A appearances this term, the £43m-rated talent has offered his side extremely little going forwards, scoring no goals and providing his teammates with just one assist, as well as taking an average of 0.7 shots – only 0.1 of which have been on target – completing just 10.3 passes and losing possession 6.3 times per game.
These returns have seen the £47k-per-week forward average a very underwhelming SofaScore match rating of just 6.72, currently ranking him as Stefano Pioli’s sixth-worst performer in the top flight of Italian football.
It has been a similar story over the 10-cap international’s five Champions League fixtures this season, once again scoring no goals, registering no assists and creating no big chances, in addition to taking an average of 0.6 shots – only 0.2 of which have been on target – completing just 9.4 passes and losing possession 7.2 times per game.
These metrics have seen the 21-year-old average an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of a mere 6.36, ranking him as Milan’s second-worst performer in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
As such, it is not difficult to see why James Marschment claimed the Whites dodged a bullet in missing out on the attacking midfielder this summer in a post on Twitter earlier this month, with the journalist stating:
“Charles De Ketelaere has proven a major disappointment for Milan with zero goals and just one assist in 15 appearances so far. It seems Leeds may have dodged a bullet with a legendary Italian coach describing CDK as ‘looking lost’ and ‘scared to play’.”
So, while signing De Ketelaere on a permanent basis this winter could be viewed as a signing with the future in mind, a loan move for the Belgian would not appear to make much sense for Leeds, as the playmaker has not exactly proven that he would be an addition to the Whites side that could help fire them up the Premier League table in the second half of the season.