Premier League

Premier League offers Tielemans ideal opportunity to kickstart development

 • by Ryan Baldi
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Youri Tielemans could be set to leave Monaco in the final days of the transfer window, with both Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City pursuing the Belgian midfielder, according to reports.

Still only 21, the midfielder is, remarkably, in his fifth full season at senior level, having begun with Anderlecht and captained the club while still in his teens.

Viewed as one of the hottest prospects in Europe during his time in Belgium, it was seen as something of a coup when Monaco snapped up Tielemans for just £20million in the summer of 2017.

However, the young playmaker hasn’t quite been able to recapture his best form in France and, with Monaco second from bottom in Ligue 1 at present, the Principality club may look to cash in on the player.

Leicester’s interest in Tielemans emerged earlier this week. The Foxes are currently ninth in the Premier League and their form has been inconsistent this term.

In December Claude Puel’s men recorded victories over Chelsea and champions Manchester City, but they have lost four of their last five fixtures in all competitions, falling to Cardiff City, Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and League Two’s Newport County in the FA Cup.

Puel has tried to implement a possession-based approach at the King Power Stadium this season, and it seems Tielemans has been identified as the man to improve Leicester’s fortunes with the new philosophy, with Sky Sports reporting the club will make a £20million swoop for the Belgian international.

However, Tottenham’s midfield needs reinforcing after Mousa Dembélé departed this month for China. And, according to The Telegraph, Spurs are ready to hijack Leicester’s move.

Tottenham were linked with Tielemans prior to his move to Monaco. At that point, he was regarded as one of the brightest young players in Europe, and for good reason.

But, as the above graphic illustrates, Tielemans has been far less productive this term than he was in his marvellous final campaign with Anderlecht.

It must be considered, of course, that the French top flight represents a higher level of competition than its Belgian equivalent, and therefore a reduction in productivity is to be somewhat expected.

But Tielemans has thus far failed to live up to the hype in 18 months with Monaco. It hasn’t helped that the club has fallen apart around him, with mass player sales decimating the title-winning side of 2016/17, and were he to find himself in a more stable environment he might well flourish once again.

At 21, Tielemans still has time on his side and no shortage of talent. And in the current market £20million represents little in the way of risk.

With such vast potential and experience, Tielemans would be an exciting addition for either Leicester or Spurs, providing either could offer him the stability his time at Monaco has lacked.