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HomeFive of the BestFive Anderlecht academy graduates signed by Premier League clubs this summer

Five Anderlecht academy graduates signed by Premier League clubs this summer

Anderlecht has been a hotbed for emerging talent in recent years, with Belgium’s most successful clubs having exported a wealth of exciting starlets to Europe’s top leagues.

One of the most successful youth systems in European football, there are a number of Anderlecht academy graduates who have signed for Premier League clubs this summer.

Five Anderlecht academy graduates signed by Premier League clubs this summer:

Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa)

Youri Tielemans is one of Anderlecht’s most successful homegrown products, with the midfielder having gone on to win 60 caps for Belgium since emerging from the club’s ranks.

Tielemans became the youngest Belgian player to play in the UEFA Champions League during his early emergence at Anderlecht, starting in a fixture against Greek side against Olympiacos at the age of 16 years and 148 days.

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The midfielder was named as the Belgian Pro League’s best young player in consecutive seasons at Anderlecht, before winning the division’s senior award in 2016/17 to earn a move to AS Monaco. Tielemans signed for Leicester in 2019 in a £40m deal, after an initial loan spell with the Foxes, and scored the winner as the club won the FA Cup for the first time in 2021.

He signed for Aston Villa on a free transfer this summer after Leicester’s relegation, with his arrival considered a coup for Unai Emery as Villa return to European competition this season.

Bart Verbruggen (Brighton)

Bart Verbruggen actually joined Anderlecht from NAC Breda at the age of 18, but spent time in the club’s youth and second sides before his first-team breakthrough in 2022/23.

Verbruggen boasted the best save success rate (76.2%) in the Jupiler Pro League last season and hit the headlines after saving all three penalties as Anderlecht beat Ludogorets Razgrad 3-0 in a shootout in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

That form saw Verbruggen earn a first senior call-up for the Netherlands in March, while interest from Europe’s biggest leagues predictably arrived. Brighton agreed a £16.3m deal for the 21-year-old, who was named as Anderlecht’s Player of the Season in 2022/23.

Excellent with the ball at his feet, Verbruggen is the latest starlet signed by the Seagulls with the potential to become elite.

Hannes Delcroix (Burnley)

Vincent Kompany has leaned on his Belgian connections to improve Burnley, securing a host of eye-catching arrivals from the Belgian Pro League.

After guiding the Clarets to promotion to the Premier League last season, Kompany has raided former side Anderlecht to sign Hannes Delcroix.

The 23-year-old – who earned a senior cap for Belgium in 2020 – is a left-sided centre-back who is proactive in his defensive work and Kompany will hope Delcroix can strengthen the spine of his side as Burnley look to consolidate in the top tier.

Kompany, a four-time Premier League winning captain at Manchester City, knows better than most the demands placed on centre-backs in English football.

Romeo Lavia (Chelsea)

Romeo Lavia was at the centre of a transfer tussle this summer as Chelsea and Liverpool competed for the signing of the Southampton midfielder.

Having departed Manchester City in search of a clear route to first-team football, Lavia proved he was ready for the demands of Premier League football in a strong individual campaign despite Southampton’s relegation.

Lavia had signed for Manchester City from Anderlecht aged 16, but made just two senior appearances for the Cityzens. The 19-year-old’s tenacious defensive work and press-resistant football at Southampton attracted interest however, and Chelsea won the race to sign Lavia in a deal worth £58m.

The teenager – who won his first cap for Belgium in March – will form part of an emerging post-Golden Generation group with the national team, alongside the likes of Lois Openda, Charles De Ketelaere and Amadou Onana.

Jeremy Doku (Manchester City)

Jeremy Doku will join that aforementioned list as one of Belgian football’s next big hopes, with the 21-year-old having already won 16 caps for the Red Devils.

Doku turned down the advances of Europe’s elite to sign for Rennes from Anderlecht in 2020 and has flourished amid regular first-team football in France.

The 21-year-old scored seven goals in 2022/23 with his performances piquing the interest of a Manchester City side in search of a Riyad Mahrez replacement.

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The treble winners completed a £55.4m deal to sign Doku this summer and the Belgian will add a different option to Pep Guardiola’s side. Nicknamed The Belgian Flash due to his explosive acceleration, Guardiola will look to turn Doku’s considerable blend of attributes into an effective attacking threat.

Read – Doku backed to ‘improve’ Manchester City

Read Also – Premier League Archive: Six stunning solo goals

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