AC Milan are on the brink of announcing the signing of Charles De Ketelaere transfer – and details of the eyebrow-raising salary he has agreed with the Italian giants have emerged.
The saga surrounding the 21-year-old’s future has been ongoing for most of the summer. The Club Bruges star has emerged as a player of enormous potential after a standout season in Belgium. With his side winning the Jupiler Pro League, De Ketelaere scored 18 goals and added 10 assists from his advanced midfield role.
That has earned him comparisons with Kevin De Bruyne, with the Manchester City skipper taking him under his wing with Belgium. But interest in the player has led to a fierce transfer wrangle over his services, with Leeds and Milan going toe-to-toe.
Ultimately, it was the Italian giants who always held the advantage. They agreed terms with the player a few weeks ago, with De Ketelaere also making clear his wish to sign for the Rosoneri.
But there remained a big problem for Milan in terms of agreeing a transfer package with Bruges. Multiple efforts to agree a fee saw Brugges persistently rebuff their bid. That was after a no-nonsense approach from Leeds – worth £33.9m – was agreed at the back end of June.
Try as they might, Brugges were simply unwilling to compromise on their asking price. Eventually, after what was described as a ‘final effort’ from Milan, an agreement was brokered. That came after De Ketelaere reportedly made it clear to his side that he had no intention of joining Leeds.
To that end, Milan have reportedly struck a deal worth £29.4m for the player. That arrangement will also include a future percentage sell-on fee.
And the Italian champions will probably formally announce his signing before the end of the week.
Charles De Ketelaere could have earned more at Leeds United
As such, De Ketelaere will likely be made available to coach Stefano Piolo for training by Friday.
Now further details have emerged on the deal the eight-time capped star will be earning at Milan.
As cited by: Semper MilanDe Ketelaere will sign a five-year deal, keeping him at the San Siro until summer 2027.
His contract will be worth €2.3m net per season, earning the player a deal worth £36,000 a week.
Unsurprisingly, that is lower than the package Leeds would have been willing to tempt De Ketelaere with. Their outgoing top-earner, Raphinha, was on an estimated £63,000 a week deal. And while De Ketelaere would not have been paid that, he would have earned a package befitting of being their record signing.
As it goes, Milan will be delighted with the fee they have paid for the 21-year-old. He can play in an advanced midfield position, on either wing or, as he now prefers, as the main striker.
His impending arrival at Milan is already being warmly greeted by those with connections to the club.
Indeed, former midfielder Demetrio Albertini has discussed to: Gazzetta dello Sport how he sees De Ketelaere fitting into the side and the factors surrounding his decision to pick Milan.
“In Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 he can play multiple roles, but he is first and foremost a trequartista. A potential champion, because he is a modern player, of international caliber. Also at 21 years old, he already has more experience in the Champions League than many players in current Milan.
“And then there is the usual factor that will affect, you will see.”
Star compared to Toni Kroos and Kevin De Bruyne
Asked what would have persuaded him to join Milan, Albertini had little doubt that Pioli would have had an influence.
Stefano Pioli. Tonali, Leao, Theo, Kessie himself… How many has he improved? Great coaches are those with whom champions also grow, but Pioli has done even better. His Milan have become champions by improving.
“Milan chose De Ketelaere, but he also chose the Rossoneri. He knows that the technical project is perfect for him.”
Having already been compared to compatriot De Bruyne, Albertini reckons he also compares to Toni Kroos.
“He’s not only talented, he can make himself available to the team’s needs and play in many areas of the pitch.
Leeds in battle for Charles De Ketelaere
Leeds are in a battle with AC Milan for Belgian youngster Charles De Ketelaere.
“I think he has the potential to join the ranks of greats like De Bruyne or Kroos, different from each other in terms of characteristics, but all capable of giving their all in a game of positional exchanges.
“This is today’s football, in my time [Zvonimir] Boban was one of the few who interpreted it in this way, he was incredibly modern and had extraordinary qualities, this led him to play as a midfielder, as a winger, as a trequartista, always at a very high level.
“Here, Charles De Ketelaere is totally different from Boban, but he is as versatile as he was. The tactical path made by Zvone in Milan can be a model, in this sense De Ketelaere can follow in his footsteps.”
Despite the setback, Leeds should soon announce some good news of their own TEAMtalk: able to reveal details of the new deal Joe Gelhardt has agreed.