ROYAL ANTWERP have suffered another public blow ahead of their Europa League clash with Rangers after defender Ritchie De Laet revealed his frustrations at drawn-out talks over a new deal.

The former Manchester United and Leicester City stopper is in discussions with Antwerp over fresh terms that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2023.

But he has become unhappy with the course of the talks in recent weeks and admitted his contract situation played a part in his performance as Antwerp - who face Steven Gerrard's side in the last 32 next month - crashed to a 3-0 defeat against KV Mechelen on Sunday.

Antwerp are sixth in the Belgian Pro League after 20 matches this term and De Laet said: “It looks like we are stuck and that's why I had a hard time, mentally [on Sunday]. I was empty, I was empty.

“Look, I am happy here. I want to stay and the club wants that too, otherwise we would not have started the talks.

“But the gap between supply and demand was just too big, so everything came to a standstill.

“It can all turn around quickly, of course. One phone call and I may be able to sign.

"But there will have to be more resilience on their part. I don't ask for anything unreasonable and I have played at a decent level this season.”

De Laet’s outburst is another twist in a tumultuous few weeks for Antwerp after boss Ivan Leko left to become manager of Shanghai SIPG and new gaffer was Franky Vercouteren forced to isolate.

Striker Didier Lamkel Ze also made headlines across Europe when he turned up to training wearing an Anderlecht jersey in a bid to force through a move to Panathinaikos.