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Southampton signing this highly-rated 19-year-old Belgian ace would be a great long-term investment

Belgium's Yari Verschaeren scores a penalty kick during the Euro 2020 qualifier group I football game between Belgium and San Marino on October 10, 2019, in Brussels. (Getty Images)

Why Southampton should reignite their interest in Yari Verschaeren

Back in September 2019, a report from the Daily Mail had claimed that Southampton were interested in completing a deal for highly-rated Belgian starlet Yari Verschaeren. However, a move to the south coast of England failed to materialise for the young attacking midfielder, who ended up staying put in his homeland at Anderlecht.

Profile

Yari Verschaeren featured for Kruibeke and Waasland-Bevern at the youth level before joining Anderlecht’s academy and signed his first professional contract in 2017. He caught the eye with his rapid development and made his first-team debut against Sint-Truiden during the 2018-19 campaign. 

The 19-year-old has since evolved into one of the hottest young prospects in the Belgian top-flight while also making his mark at the senior international level. Verschaeren is yet to establish himself as a regular starter but has amassed 6 goals and 5 assists in 51 appearances for Anderlecht in all competitions. 

Player Report: Yari Verschaeren. Yari Verschaeren has won the Belgian… | by Fraser Clark | Medium
Yari Verschaeren had been linked with a move to Southampton last year (Getty Images)

Southampton would benefit from Verschaeren’s potential

Southampton roped in former academy graduate Theo Walcott on a season-long loan deal from Everton to bolster their attack. The England international’s fairytale return to his boyhood club has certainly handed a massive boost to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s attacking cavalry, with Walcott contributing with 2 assists in 3 games.

Besides Walcott, the Saints have some exciting creative players like Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo and Stuart Armstrong to complement the likes of Che Adams and Danny Ings up top. Indeed, they are pretty well stocked in the creative and goalscoring departments but adding fresh faces will surely help them progress in the right direction.

To put things into perspective, Southampton should make a renewed attempt to sign Yari Verschaeren from Anderlecht when the market reopens in January. The teenager is right up there with some of the best rising creative talents in Europe, thus making him more than worth a punt for the Saints. 

Still very much in his formative years, the 19-year-old has already started to show his quality in the Belgian top-flight and is only going to get better with time. That Verschaeren is competing with stalwarts like Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Youri Tielemans for a spot in Belgium’s senior international ranks clearly indicates a level of maturity that belies his tender years.

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Verschaeren has already won 6 caps for Belgium at the international level (Getty Images)

Verdict

Yari Verschaeren might not be the finished article capable of making a big impression in the Premier League just yet. Despite his versatility to operate in central and wide attacking roles, the starlet is unlikely to displace accomplished players like Redmond, Armstrong and Djenepo in Southampton’s first-team. 

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However, the Saints would be better off looking at him as one for the future rather than an immediate game-changer. Southampton have largely focused on bringing in talented youngsters with a view to maximising their potential ever since the appointment of Hasenhuttl at the helm.

Adams, Djenepo and Mohammed Salisu have come through the door at St. Mary’s in alignment with that policy and a potential deal for Verschaeren would represent the same. The 19-year-old is very much a star in the making and Southampton should definitely go back in the market for his services.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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