Manchester City’s desperation to inject the vibrancy of youth into their ageing squad has prompted them to visit the most violently spewing talent well in Europe – Belgium.
The Flemish nation’s golden generation has unleashed a huge quota of world-class players into the soccersphere and the Citizens’ money-green fingers are intent on hooking one of the brightest prospects for the future.
Anderlecht’s Evangelos Patoulidis is the object of their affection, though competition for the 14-year-old is believed to stiff.
Barcelona and Arsenal are also interested in the playmaking teen, who allegedly rejected a move to the Catalan club’s La Masia academy aged 12 as his family preferred him to focus on his schoolwork.
This wise move will also enable the studious City target to continue his development in the esteemed Anderlecht education system and, as a result of this, he may well feature alongside these fresh faces for his national side a few years down line.
Here are a few names who’ll headline the next wave of Belgian superstars:
The 16-year-old recently signed for Manchester United, who are 6/4 to beat City this weekend.
He’s a playmaker with a strong left foot and viewed as a potential number ten, similar to compatriot Adnan Januzaj.
Everton almost signed the 18-year-old in the previous summer transfer window, after he spent pre-season training with the Merseysiders.
The Toffees were gazumped on deadline day, however, with Olympiakos coaxing the striker to Greece instead with Roberto Martinez’s men apparently unwilling to pay £300,000 for a player so young.
Bizarrely, the striker joined Everton on loan from the perennial Greek champions moments after the completion of his transfer.
He’s lauded for his lightning fast pace.
City already have one fledgling Belgian showstopper on the books, with imposing centre-back Bossaerts also procured from the Anderlecht academy.
Now 17, the two-time Premier League champions signed him as a 15-year-old, beating off Man Utd and Liverpool in doing so.
Yet another Anderlecht prodigy, Tielemans, aged just 17, has already played almost 60 games for the Belgian kings.
An energetic midfielder who can do just about anything according to every report written about him is the subject of interest from just about every reputable club in world football and recently became the youngest player to grace a Champions League game.