As reported by Het Nieuwsblad, Antwerp will not be activating the purchase option they have for on loan central midfielder Mandela Keita. The 20-year-old, on loan from OH Leuven, is available for Antwerp to purchase for €10m. However, the price is too high for Antwerp and they have decided not to proceed.
This is despite the strong performances that the midfielder has put in for the cup winners. Keita came off the bench in Sunday’s win over Mechelen in the cup final, while he has also made 13 appearances for the side since joining in January. Antwerp were suffering a number of injury’s to key central midfielders, meaning Keita was able to get game time playing alongside Arthur Vermeeren.
This news will be a boost for a number of English sides chasing the player in the summer. Leeds United, Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers are all said to be interested in Keita.
Antwerp do have options for next season without Keita. The return of Nigerian midfielder Alhassan Yusuf from injury will be a major boost for the side. The 22-year-old has impressed since joining the club in 2021 from IFK Goteborg in Sweden.