Five potential Belgian talents to make Premier League waves
Holly Thackeray | November 13, 2015
Red Devils in waiting: Five to fit in the Premier League
As Belgium (11/10 with Coral for victory) prepare to host Italy in a prestige friendly as preparation for the Euro 2016 finals it was again impossible not to notice the strong Premier League presence in Marc Wilmots’ squad.
The Red Devils production line of talent appears never-ending and the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and co could soon be joined by many more brilliant Belgians plying their trade around the globe.
Here are five we think would fit perfectly in England’s top-tier, featuring both fledgling talents and established stars ready for a big move…
Michy Batshuayi (Marseille)
With club Marseille in flux, sitting 13th in Ligue 1 plus losing players left, right and centre, Batshuayi’s brilliant strike-rate this season makes him an obvious target, especially for the likes of Aston Villa, who desperately need goals. Though nine from 13 across all competitions, plus notching on his Belgium bow, may mean the 22-year-old sharpshooter (7/4 to notch anytime against the Azzurri) should aim higher.
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)
He may only just be making inroads with Atleti, but the skillful 22-year-old will surely have already sent big English club radars bleeping. It seems the Red Devils have wingers in abundance, but Ferrerira-Carrasco has still found space among a star-studded international squad.
Directness, a nose for goal, pace and pressing are all attributes that would suit the English game well, and if he is adjudged to have the potential to make the step-up, it won’t be long before somebody comes sniffing. Take a peek for yourself, as the youngster seeks his fourth cap against the Italians.
Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht)
Keep an eye on this name over the next transfer window or two, as teenage talent Tielemans is tipped for big things, and the midfield passing prodigy has already been linked to the most prestigious Premier League clubs.
Anderlecht look to have reared a rare gem, here, though the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United will have a real tussle on their hands to lure Tielemans away from the apparent advances of Barcelona. Attacker and Belgium cap Dennis Praet is another to look out for from this academy.
Dries Mertens (Napoli)
At the other end of the spectrum we have wing magician Mertens, a technically excellent footballer who screams possible Spurs purchase. The Gent graduate, currently missing from the Red Devils roster due to injury, is now 28 and should perhaps search for one last big move to enhance his CV and silverware chances.
It would be intriguing to see the adaptable attacking midfielder test himself at the top level, and his prolific goal hauls from the flanks in both Serie A and the Eredivisie would make him a White Hart Lane hero, if he could transfer that potency to a Tottenham team in need of a little more x-factor out wide.
Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg)
Witsel to the Premier League is a rumour as old as time, yet no club has yet captured the midfield battle-axe. At just 26, the defensive shield seems to have been around forever, but is still due an outing for an elite side.
As the fashion has moved toward deep-lying playmakers rather than tenacious tacklers at the highest level, Witsel may have found his tough tendencies do not register on rarefied club palates.
Yet, the Belgian anchorman is actually no mug when it comes to distribution, and could prove a dangerous deep outlet with bite to suit a team such as Arsenal. Either way, it appears time for the central midfield marshal to move on from Zenit and enforce in England or elsewhere.
Read more on Belgium and their talented squad in our archive.