Club Brugge CEO Vincent Mannaert has revealed that Leeds United were ready to break their transfer record to sign Charles De Ketelaere this summer.
The 21-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Elland Road during the latest transfer window as the Premier League club battled it out with AC Milan for the Belgian star’s signature.
Milan won out in the end and signed De Ketelaere for £27m at the start of last month, but Brugge CEO Mannaert has revealed that Leeds offered more money for the youngster.
According to Mannaert, Leeds tabled a club-record £34m bid to sign the talented youngster and were willing to increase that offer, but the 21-year-old had his heart set on AC Milan.
“It is not that De Ketelaere was not interested, but at that time his preference was for AC Milan. I never really thought we wouldn’t come to an agreement (with Milan). In the end, it turned out that we got out relatively quickly.
“At such moments, there are simply three parties. Charles understood that Milan initially offered too little. Leeds were willing to pay more, but we also respected the choice of our player.”
De Ketelaere would have been a brilliant signing for Jesse Marsch but unfortunately for the American coach, it was not meant to be.