Scout report: Youri Tielemans – Highly-coveted young Belgian midfielder

Youri Tielemans, earmarked as one of the world’s brightest teenagers, turns 20 in May.

The highly-rated midfielder is expected to make an inevitable move from Anderlecht, having developed significantly in recent seasons and Monaco are said to have agreed a deal ‘in principle’ to sign him, although the player, aware that clubs like Arsenal have been scouting him, has not made up his mind.

So what would Arsenal get if they signed him or miss out on if they don’t?

Strengths

Tielemans is another talented youngster who has shown his ability to play in a range of positions across midfield. Defensively minded, he can also play in the number ten role as well as his preferred central midfield position. He has continued to improve with experience.

With 18 goals and a further 14 assists (all comps) this season, Tielemans has proven pivotal in a creative sense. His technique and agility with the ball are impressive, as he’s able to jink past challenges across the pitch.

Spatial awareness and his knack for goalscoring have continued to improve with maturity. Long-range efforts are rippling into the back of the net with commendable regularity, whilst he exudes confidence and composure on the ball too.

He’s a tricky player to predict and often makes opponents look silly with deft skill to retain possession and alleviate pressure on team-mates in the same movement. As well as this though, he’s unafraid to make important defensive interventions when called upon.

Keen to display his eyecatching passing range over both short and longer distances, team-mates must enjoy having him around. Able to create and convert opportunities without hestitating, he catches opponents unaware to devastating effect:

Weaknesses

As for his weaknesses, Tielemans needs to be aware of his tackling technique and cautious when making hefty challenges. With eight yellow cards this season, it’s clear that he should be more mindful when committing to 50-50 challenges and tackles which are not so clear-cut.

Tielemans mis-times a challenge during Anderlecht's Europa League fixture with APOEL

Apoel’s Greek midfielder Giannis Gianniotas (L) is tackled by Anderlecht’s Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans during the Europa League round of 16 football match between APOEL Nicosia vs R.S.C. Anderlecht at the Neo GSP Stadium in Nicosia on March 9, 2017. (Picture source: Sakis Savvides / AFP / Getty Images)

In addition to this, he needs to further strengthen his levels of physicality. Although he is an agile and technically gifted player, it will reduce the likelihood of sustaining injuries. After all, he is targeted by Jupiler League opponents as someone to press and challenge in possession – who’s to say this wouldn’t happen in more competitive leagues too?

Looking forward

Anderlecht are a top Belgian side but lack quality and consistency to mount a serious Champions League challenge. Former players, pundits and supporters have revealed it’s important for him to upgrade, if he’s to fulfil his high potential in the coming years.

Arsenal, Monaco, Everton, and Roma are just a handful of potential destinations for Tielemans to consider when the time is right. With that in mind, he’ll surely see first-team opportunities as a priority given his potential to develop further.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – NOVEMBER 03: Youri Tielemans of RSC Anderlecht celebrates with members of the coaching staff after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Europa League Group C match between RSC Anderlecht and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on November 3, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A new father after the birth of daughter, Melina this month, it’s understandable that he’d be reluctant to leave too soon and unsettle his young family – especially if he feels indebted to the side who gave him his professional debut aged 16 in 2013. That being said, the money he is likely to make with any move this summer would set his family up for life…who could really say ‘no’ to that?

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