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With Monaco selling every major asset they have, with midfielder Bakayoko heading to Chelsea, winger Bernado Silva and full-back Benjamin Mendy both jetting off to Manchester City, striker Germain now with French rivals Marseille and attacker Thomas Lemar currently linked heavily with a move to Arsenal, it seems that Monaco’s mass exodus has produced a mass amount of cash; not to mention mass amount of problems.
Tiemeou Bakayoko was critical in Monaco’s title winning season. A powerful box-to-box midfielder, equally talented in breaking up the play and recycling the ball to Monaco’s more attacking threats, or going on the offensive driving at opposition players powering past them and creating absolute havoc, his move to Chelsea will hit Monaco hard and they need a powerful midfielder to fill his place. Well, with Monaco’s mass exodus still in full swing now, the French Champions have brought in Anderlect startlet Youri Tielemans, a player who possibly has the ability and the reputation to pass his French predecessor.
Ask any Football manager fan and they will tell you that “Youri Tielemans will be the next big thing,” and it is wise to listen to them with stars such as Gareth Bale, Vincent Kompany and Lionel Messi were all touted by the game to be future superstars while they where still rattling about at youth level.
Tielemans who joined Monaco for £21.6m earlier this window, is around 5ft 10in and is equally adept in a more advanced attacking midfield role as he is in a deeper role as a defensive midfielder. He has appeared in the Europa League Team of the season (2016/17), won the Belgian Professional Player of the year award, won the Belgian Pro-League and the Belgian Super Cup both on two separate occasions, not to mention his Champions League experience, becoming the youngest player to make his debut in the process; all this while being only 20-years-old shows how brilliant a signing the young Belgian is.
For a young player, Youri Tielemans has an incredible amount of ability. As mentioned, he can play in a variety of midfield roles and excel in either of them, not to mention the fact that he is also equally confident in playing with both feet, further showing the versatility that he can offer. He also has the technical ability to match his vision. His ability to get the ball, find the player and then make a show stopping pass allows him to really become the beating heart of any team that he is in.
The young Belgian has an almost Cesc Fabregas like knack of spraying 40 yard passes with pin point accuracy, all while making it look so easy. Tielemans can also battle physically with the best of them; in his 11 Europa league appearances he made 2.8 tackles a game which is superior to the likes of Matic, Toni Kroos and Ander Herrera.
His rise from Football Manager wonder kid to one of the best and brightest Belgian talents, with him being mentioned in the same breath as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku is staggering. Yet, he is still young and is still developing. In his 138 appearances for Anderlecht, he scored only 26 times. This is, however, superior to Bakayoko’s 3 goals in 63 appearances for Monaco.
While he is a fantastic passer, racking up 16 assists for Anderlect, he is heavily reliant on long balls. His 4.3 long balls per match last season may not fit Monaco’s style of play without a recognised “big” centre forward to get onto these balls. This may see his pass accuracy take a big hit. But how amazing would it be to see a long ball from Tielemans fly over the opposition to land at the feet of Monaco’s prized possession, teenager Kylian Mbappe, who is younger than his now Monaco Teammate, at only 18 years of age. The Belgian could be the key factor should Monaco challenge for the French league title once again.
We have to remember that Tielemans is not alone. He is one of the many promising players that are within Anderlect’s ranks; he is only one of the long line of players in Anderlect’s ranks. Anderlect’s conveyor belt of talent has produced stars such as Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, Adnan Januzaj, Alexander Mitrovic and Cheikhou Kouyate to name a few, and they will continue to produce more, with Aaron Leya Iseka, the younger brother of ex-Anderlect star Michy Batshuayi, scoring goals for fun at youth level. There is also fellow Belgian, Leander Dendoncker, who has been linked with a move away to Manchester United in recent weeks; the future of Anderlect is not only safe but also bright. Yet, the future of Youri Tielemans may be even brighter.
Without a shadow of a doubt, he will. The 20 year old has racked up a fine record in his career, scoring 35 career goals and 32 career assists. This absolutely dwarfs Bakayoko’s 6 career goals and 1 career assist. Despite his age, Tielemans has played 14,163 career minutes to Bakayoko’s 8,838 miniutes. Remember, Bakayoko is 2 years older than the Belgian.
Above all else, Youri Tielemans has good head above his shoulders, rejecting interest from a host of European names to join Monaco because he believed it would help him develop and get him the most game time; a welcome change following many young players following where the money is, rather than where they feel they will grow the most.
So is Youri Tielemans the next Kevin De Bruyne or is he another football manager flop to follow in the footsteps of Freddy Adu and Christopher Samba? With fantastic passing attributes, a powerful frame and great technical ability that we all associate the Belgians with, it is no doubt he will make it big and become a household name very soon.
Will he eclipse the man he was brought into replace That is another matter with the players though, very similar are very different; but there is no doubt that he will fill that Bakayoko sized hole that Monaco desperately need filling, if they are to compete again against the big bucks that are PSG, who have started spending big this summer to re-establish their French superiority.
By Lewis Holman