The Athletic journalist Dominic Fifield believes Youri Tielemans may have to remain at Leicester City to guarantee himself a spot in Belgium’s World Cup squad.
According to The Telegraph last month, Arsenal were reportedly preparing to make an opening bid for the Belgian star worth £25m, with Mikel Arteta identifying him as a top target for this summer.
However, reports in the last few days have suggested that the Gunners are cooling their interest in the former Monaco midfielder, with the north London outfit said to be focusing on ‘other targets’ at present.
It leaves the 25-year-old’s future uncertain, with just a year remaining on his current deal at the King Power Stadium. And with the World Cup looming this winter, the Belgian holds a key decision as to where he will play in the lead-up to the tournament.
Fifield has suggested to the Belgian that while he’d be a ‘top player’ for any team, he’d be better served remaining at Leicester playing under a system ‘he knows he’ll excel at’ and guarantee himself a place at the World Cup.
Speaking on The Athletic Football Podcast, he said:
“That’s a player who’s entering his last 12 months of his contract at Leicester City. Again, no shortage of suitors, people want him, he’s a quality player.
“But does it make more sense, certainly for [Roberto] Martinez, and possibly for Tielemans, to stay in an environment that he knows, that he understands, he knows he’s going to play, he knows the system he’s going to play, and he knows he’ll excel at it, because he’s a very, very good player, and do that for the next six months – effectively for 12 months for the final year of his contract?
“Or does he risk it, go and try and break into a new system, and new surroundings – possibly a new country and culture – and the unsettling effect that might have on his football in the five months leading up to the biggest tournament potentially of his career?”
TIF Thoughts on Fifield’s comments…
Indeed, Tielemans is a top-quality footballer and a player who will fit into many top sides in Europe.
The £49.5m-rated Sint-Pieters-Leeuw-born maestro has been an important part of a Leicester side who have juggled European football with the Premier League in the past few seasons.
The Belgian registered six goals and three assists in the Premier League last term and has implemented consistency into Rodgers’ side ever since his permanent move from Monaco in the summer of 2019, having contributed with at least nine goal returns in his last three full seasons for the Foxes.
It wouldn’t be bad for the £120k-per-week dynamo to see out his contract at a club he knows so well and under a manager he’s grown accustomed to in recent seasons.
Playing in a new environment and culture for the next few months leading up to the World Cup may just upset his rhythm, which could put his position and place in the Belgium side in real jeopardy. Tielemans may be best-served seeing out the next six months at the King Power as Fifield suggests, and possibly leave in January or remain until his contract expires this time next year.
The ball is well and truly in his court, but we certainly believe that Fifield’s take on the situation makes a lot of sense as the midfielder makes a rather big decision on his future this summer.