Who Is Youri Tielemans?

With alleged interest from all corners of Europe, RSC Anderlecht and Belgium youngster Youri Tielemans seems to be on his way out of the Jupiler Pro League. Tielemans only turned 18 last month, but he can already look back at 83 senior appearances for Belgium’s record champion, including a Champions League debut at 16 years of age. In this respect, whoever was willing to purchase the young prodigy would not only get talent, but some substantial experience.

Borussia Dortmund seem to be at the forefront of those who want to sign Youri Tielemans, although a number of sources also quote Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Bayern, Chelsea and even Wolfsburg as potential suitors. At this stage, from the player’s perspective, Dortmund looks like the most favoured destination due to the team’s need for a passing central midfielder and the player’s desire for playing time. Competition at Arsenal, Bayern and Chelsea in particular, would arguably hinder Tielemans from featuring week in week out. As such, the player needs to be intelligent enough to make a choice that is beneficial to his development.

Tielemans has only ever played for Anderlecht and joined the club’s youth ranks in 2002, aged just five. He eventually made the cut and was given his senior debut at 16 years of age, when Anderlecht played KSC Lokeren in the league, in 2013. Given such talent, Tielemans became a first-team regular very quickly and has been the key midfielder in Anderlecht’s play. Comfortable with both feet and equipped with great technical talent, the youngster bosses the central midfield position with incredible control on the ball and the ability to spread the play with very mature vision. In addition to this, the Belgian is also a great dribbler and can bypass the odd player or two with ease.

In 39 Pro League matches last season, Tielemans managed to score six goals and provided five assists. As he progresses, the youngster seems to move towards becoming a box-to-box type of player and, last season, he was seen increasingly contributing to Anderlecht’s play in an attacking sense. As such, basing his play on the likes of Zinedine Zidane will become more relevant, as Tielemans continues his progress.

Many regard the midfielder as a future Anderlecht captain, but since the big guns have come calling, supporters may no longer be able to witness Tielemans wearing the armband. Although Borussia Dortmund seems a likley destination for the Belgian, the German club also seem somewhat reluctant to sign up a talent that would potentially hinder the development of their own youth personnel, including Dzenis Burnic, who only turned 17 last month and is believed to be one of Germany’s best midfield prospects.

As for Tielemans himself, he might be better off remaining in Belgium to take advantage of being an established player at his club. However, if one the mentioned clubs ends up offering the asking price of €20 million, Tielemans might almost be forced to make a choice. As such, this summer will be critical in the player’s development and it is now, that the young Belgian will begin to shape his future career.