Youri Tielemans could be on his way to the Premier League, but which club would suit him best?
The Belgian joined Monaco in the summer of 2017 but he hasn’t really set the Principality alight with his displays.
Despite possessing an abundance of talent, Tielemans hasn’t ever really shown it in any sort of sustainable way and returning coach Leonardo Jardim doesn’t have him in his plans, which is why Monaco are now open to him leaving.
Word is they’d like a loan for the rest of the season, but would be fine with an immediate sale (valued around £20m per The Telegraph) to one of the interested parties.
Leicester City were the early movers for Tielemans, but rivals have since emerged in Spurs and Manchester United. But how does Tielemans play, which of these clubs would suit him best? We’ve had a look.
Tielemans is a powerful central midfielder with a truly balanced skill-set. His ability to ‘do it all’ is why Monaco felt he would be a good fit to replace the departed Tiemoue Bakayoko and bring playmaking to the middle of their midfield.
He is comfortable on the ball, passing it around – only Kamil Glik has attempted more than his 909 passes this season.
He is a quality dribbler, completing more take-ons than anyone else in the Monaco side (18) at a 51% completion rate. So he can hurt you with the pass or the dribble. But, of course, where his excellence most obviously lies is the shot.
Tielemans has taken more shots (35) than any Monaco player besides Radamel Falcao (who as the team’s striker has 50).
A whopping 24 of Tielemans’ shots have come from outside the box, so he will always keep defences honest. They will have to step up and guard him.
His five goals in Ligue 1 may not seem like much but for a midfielder playing in a struggling style, it’s not bad. Consider that Falcao only has eight goals and those two are the only players to score more than once.
He doesn’t shirk his defensive responsibility either. No Monaco player has won more tackles than his 45 (at a 66% success rate) this season and his 18 interceptions is fourth in the squad.
Furthermore, no one can top his 23 blocks and he’s even chipped in with 19 clearances (seventh among Monaco players). He is a truly all-round talent who could grace any midfield, so where does he fit?
Current options: Wilfred Ndidi, Nampalys Mendy, Adrien Silva, Hamza Choudhury, Daniel Amartey, Andy King, Matty James
Primary formation: 4-2-3-1
Secondary formation: 4-3-3
The Foxes were the first side to make a move for Tielemans and when you look at their midfield options it is screamingly obvious why. Of all their midfield options, none are truly what you would call creative. Sure you have James Maddison or Harvey Barnes who, in a 4-2-3-1, could play as a no. 10 – but what about a 4-3-3? Never mind the fact that a creative no. 10 can be rendered useless if the supply isn’t good.
Tielemans would instantly become Leicester’s most talented midfielder. His work ethic would fit in with Claude Puel’s style, and moreover with one of Ndidi or Mendy backing him up could be very dangerous in a 4-2-3-1 as part of the double pivot.
He would always be able to push the ball forward and if any cutbacks find him on the edge of the box? Duck and cover, sports fans! And of course he could also be part of a very offensive 4-3-3, pairing with Maddison ahead of one of Ndidi or Mendy.
Verdict: Very Likely. Leicester are desperate for a bit of genius to spark their season and set the likes of Maddison and Barnes away to truly be final third difference-makers. Moreover, the Foxes would probably be happy to buy him direct now, rather than simply loan him.
Current options: Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Marouane Fellaini, Scott McTominay
Primary formation: 4-3-3
Secondary formation: 4-1-2-1-2
This move seems like a strange one for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United in terms of the short-term benefit. The Red Devils already have a midfield superstar in Pogba, and whilst Herrera may be an underwhelming supporting player if we’re going by reputation, his performances justify his spot.
Tielemans could theoretically take over Nemanja Matic’s spot in the side, but he’s not ideally suited to playing as a lone pivot. There’s no doubt that Tielemans has the quality to thrive as a United midfielder, however. With his ability to do it all he could become a truly incredible partner to Pogba, making United’s midfield so much harder to mark.
Verdict: Unlikely. As much as he fits the style, Manchester United have shown faith in their current three starters and if anyone was going to break into their XI it would be Fred, the brilliant Brazilian they signed for £50m in the summer.
Current options: Christian Eriksen, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Oliver Skipp
Primary formation: 4-1-2-1-2
Secondary formation: 4-2-3-1
Spurs have entered the race late for Tielemans but given that they just sold Moussa Dembélé it would make a large amount of sense for them to make their first signing of 2018/19 another Belgian midfielder with an all-round skill-set.
Not that Tielemans is Dembélé, his dribble completion rate is much too low for that, but he shares many of the same building blocks and is also just 21-years-old.
Mauricio Pochettino’s ability to develop young talent is legendary and he would likely be able to build Tielemans up into a Dembélé-level talent, if not greater. He would slot in perfectly next to the likes of Winks and Dier in the Spurs midfield, giving it some power and skill as well as some game-breaking ability with his shooting.
Verdict: Likely. This makes the most sense for Tielemans as a player, as Spurs can offer him a platform to start as well as a coach proven in developing young talent. However it remains to be seen whether or not Daniel Levy can be persuaded to actually sign a player before Spurs’ stadium is finished. And whilst Monaco would accept a loan, anyone who came in with a permanent offer would have the edge.