Three young stars from the Belgian Pro League destined for the Premier League

The Belgian national team is blessed with world-class players, but most of them do not play in their home country. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke have all begun their careers in Belgium but have then moved to other countries.

However, now there is a new set of talents in the division and some have been linked with moves to Premier League sides. But who are these young stars in waiting and who could they join in the English top-flight?

First up is Club Brugge’s attacking midfielder, Charles De Ketelaere. At the time of writing, the 21-year-old has played all but one game for the ‘Blauw-Zwart’ and has contributed to 22 goals in the league, 14 goals and 8 assists. His relentless running, his positioning and his work rate is there for all to see and would be a great fit for a team that plays a pressing style.

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De Ketelaere broke through at his boyhood club and was part of several youth players given an opportunity in the first team in 2019. Since the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign, the Belgian has been a regular starter at the Jan Breydel Stadium and he played in every group game of Club Brugge’s Champions League campaign this season. According to Transfermarkt, Leicester City have been interested in De Ketelaere but a move to a team like Liverpool could work wonders for the Reds with his ability to constantly press and his work rate off the ball.

Secondly, fellow Belgian attacking midfielder Yari Verschaeren at Anderlecht has impressed under former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany despite not having as good a season as De Ketelaere. He has featured in every game for Anderlecht in the league this season and has seven goals and four assists to his name. Verschaeren has been likened to fellow Belgian international Eden Hazard who he has teamed up with on occasions following his recent inclusions into the national team squad.

The 20-year-old suffered a potentially career-ending injury in 2019 where his foot turned at a 90-degree angle however the injury sustained was not as bad as first thought. As per Football Transfers, Arsenal and Manchester United have been interested in the young Belgian. Some other Premier League clubs have been linked with Verschaeren but continuing his development in Belgium may be the best option for now.

Finally, is De Ketelaere’s Club Brugge teammate Noa Lang. In 30 Belgian Pro League games this season, the Dutchman has netted seven times and has 11 assists so far and is attracting interest from many clubs. Lang started his senior career with Jong Ajax before being promoted into the first team and on his first league start, he netted a hat-trick against Twente.

The following season he was loaned out to the team he scored his hat-trick against before being loaned out to Club Brugge the subsequent campaign. He featured regularly for the Belgian side and they chose to make his deal permanent at the end of last season.

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Lang is capable of playing anywhere across the front three but this season he has mainly featured on the left or through the middle. Last month, the 22-year-old did show his angry side after being substituted in a game where he stormed down the tunnel.

Despite this, Lang is in fine form this season and Leeds United were heavily linked with him in the summer but a deal wasn’t completed. According to Team Talk, Liverpool and Arsenal have also been monitoring Lang’s progress and a move could happen in the summer.

Overall, the Belgian Pro League is full of young, hungry talent who can make it to the very top. The national team are potentially entering a golden generation with a vast number of young players on show. Like the Netherlands, Belgium is a very good place for nurturing young players and that is shown in this list. Out of the listed names though, who do you think would succeed at a Premier League club?

The Author

Jack Patmore

Billericay Town Media Assistant | Work for The Non-League Paper, VAVEL, Phoenix FM & others | Part of The Football Writers Association | BBC Young Reporter Winner 2023

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