The Hard Tackle looks at three potential destinations for Belgian playmaker Youri Tielemans, who could leave Leicester City in the summer.
The 2021/22 season has been one to forget for Leicester. After battling for a top-four finish in the Premier League in the last two campaigns, the Foxes have fallen considerably in the ongoing campaign. They faltered in their UEFA Europa League campaign, falling to the UEFA Europa Conference League while having practically no chance to clinch a top-four finish.
Failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League could have major spill-on effects for the first-team squad. Youri Tielemans, in particular, could be set to leave Leicester City in the summer transfer window. Reputed Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has recently claimed that the 24-year-old will not sign a new contract with the Foxes.
With his current deal set to expire in a little under 18 months, he will likely leave Leicester City in the summer transfer window. And Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers also recently admitted that Tielemans could depart the King Power Stadium ahead of the 2022/23 season.
While Tielemans remains a thorough professional, the fact that one of the best playmakers in the Premier League could be available will not be lost on high profile clubs. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle looks at three potential destinations for the Belgian international in the summer transfer window.
The first club in our list is a team that could do with a midfield reinforcement despite bolstering the department in the last two summer transfer windows. But Arsenal could desperately do with a creative midfielder, the kind of player their squad is lacking at the moment.
The Gunners boast solid options for their midfield double pivot in Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. But with Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard largely utilised in the final third, the lack of creativity from the central midfield has become an increasingly glaring issue for Arsenal.
In addition, with Granit Xhaka again heavily linked with a move to AS Roma, Arsenal might be forced to sign a new midfielder. That brings Tielemans into the picture, with the Belgian international possibly being an upgrade on the former Arsenal captain.
The 24-year-old will bolster Arsenal’s creativity from the centre of the park while also retaining the defensive solidity quotient. And with the Gunners already holding talks with him, the prospect of a summer move to the Emirates could be high for Tielemans, especially if the north Londoners qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Like Arsenal, Manchester United are also considering a move for Tielemans, and for a good reason. And unlike the Gunners, the Red Devils’ reason to pursue a move for the Leicester City midfielder is more straightforward, as it is directly linked with the future of Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman has entered the final six months of his contract with Manchester United and could depart Old Trafford as a free agent. Pogba’s exit will leave a gaping hole in the club’s midfield unit, which Tielemans could fill aptly.
The Belgian international might even add more dynamism to the Manchester United midfield than Pogba, considering he has better defensive acumen than the Frenchman. While Tielemans is not as creatively expressive as Pogba, Bruno Fernandes’ presence in the team means he can lend more balance to the squad.
With Manchester United desperately looking to become a more balanced team, Tielemans might be the missing piece of the puzzle. This is certainly a move that could see the light of day, with Manchester United likely to pursue the 24-year-old seriously in the summer.
Finally, we move outside England. And departing England could be on the cards for Tielemans, especially if the offer comes from a club like Barcelona.
The Catalan giants may have been experiencing a downturn in fortunes in the past 18 months. Still, their appeal remains high, as suggested by Ferran Torres’ decision to leave Manchester City to join them in the January transfer window. And while their midfield unit is loaded at the moment, Youri Tielemans could still add a lot of value at Camp Nou.
With Sergio Busquets in the twilight of his storied career, Tielemans could be the ideal addition to the Barcelona midfield unit. Frenkie de Jong has the ability to play from the base of a midfield trio, meaning Tielemans’ arrival could create a balanced midfield unit featuring him, the Dutchman and Pedri.
But Barcelona might not be able to afford Tielemans if Leicester City’s price tag is too high. Recent reports have claimed that the Belgian international’s transfer fees could go as high as €60 million. Furthermore, Barcelona’s ability to qualify for the UEFA Champions League could also play a role in his final decision. But despite the uncertainties, there is a reasonable chance that the 24-year-old will join Barcelona in the summer.