Belgians new to the big leagues, one year on.
Nobody expected much from Benteke and his sojourn to the Premier League. Aston Villa signed the big Belgian striker to compete with Darren Bent for a spot in their starting eleven. Benteke had a very good season at Racing Genk but hadn’t always been consistent enough to convince everybody in Belgium. We all knew he had the talent but it didn’t always show.
Benteke showed everybody that he was definitely ready for a next step in his career. He scores regularly for The Villans and makes it difficult for every defender in one of the toughest leagues of the world. There is a big chance that we will see him play next season at a bigger club with Tottenham interested and in need of a top class forward. And in all honesty, now I really believe in his future.
The oldest of four talented brothers was a very important player for Lille OSC. He won the title with the French club and was twice Player of the Year in France. It was only a matter of time before Eden got his deserved transfer to a bigger club. A lot of clubs desperately wanted to buy the attacking midfielder. After a lot of guessing from the press he announced that Chelsea was going to be his next club, evidently as the European champions had made him the most generous offer.
After a promising start, Hazard needed some time to find his best form in a struggling Chelsea. In recent weeks he shows everybody why Chelsea did good buying him. He is almost involved in every goal they score and makes it very difficult for every defender with his dribbles and pace. Were it not for Messi and Ronaldo he would be a major contender for Le Ballon D’or in the years to come.
Mirallas had been playing at Olympiakos and so was off the radar as far as many Belgian people were concerned. The only thing we saw in the newspapers was that Mirallas ended the season as the goalscorer of the Greek competition. I started watching some games and could see that Mirallas, who began at Lille before moving on to Saint-Etienne, had what it took to play for a club in a bigger competition. Everton signed the forward after he turned down an offer of Arsenal due to concerns about how much playing time he would get from Wenger.
Mirallas had an instant impact at Goodison Park but due to some injuries he still isn’t at the level he expected he would. It’s getting better in recent weeks and David Moyes is convinced that Mirallas could become a very important player for The Toffees.
Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne left Racing Genk and the Jupiler Pro League last season after he got a standing ovation in the Constant Vanden Stock stadium. He had a very good season and every fan in Belgium knew that this man could mean a lot in the future for the Red Devils. Again Chelsea was eager to buy a Belgian player. After the pre-season games in the USA, the Blues loaned him out to Werder Bremen. A good club for a type of player Kevin De Bruyne is.
Heis doing very well in Germany and Bayer Leverkusen is already willing to take over the Belgian midfielder. I think Leverkusen is certainly a nice club for De Bruyne but why Chelsea don’t want to give him a chance next season is a mystery to me. What can you say though if the rumours are to be believed and they are even willing to sell Courtois?
The transfer of Vertonghen from Ajax to Tottenham wasn’t an easy one. Ajax and Vertonghen couldn’t agree about how much of the transfer fee would go to Vertonghen himself. They eventually managed to find a solution because both parties always had a good relationship. As ever, Daniel Levy got his man after weeks of negotiating.
Vertonghen started at Tottenham as a left-back because Assou-Ekotto was injured. In truth it doesn’t matter where Vertonghen plays as you can always count on him. After a while Villas-Boas put Vertonghen in the centre of his defence and he played even better. The advantage of having Vertonghen in the centre of the defence is that he can bring the ball out of defence and use his scoring abilities. However, his defensive ability must not be underrated – his outstanding recovery tackle in the North London derby was as good a piece of defending as any in England this season. At this time Belgian coach Marc Wilmots is happy to keep him at left-back.