Aston Villa have been linked with more than a handful of expensive Jupiler Pro League talents this window, which begs the question – why?
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy
Since achieving promotion to the Premier League, Aston Villa have been linked with more than a handful of talents from the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, begging the question of why this is the case.
The club have been linked with Wesley Moraes, of Club Brugge, and look likely to have signed the Brazilian forward should his work permit be accepted.
Alongside this, we’ve seen the likes of Genk’s Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta and tricky winger Leandro Trossard linked, as well as Wesley’s potential former team-mate in Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.
After some painstaking research, there is nothing obvious tying Aston Villa to Belgium or the Jupiler Pro League. Jesus Garcia Pitarch has spent his entire professional career in Spain and looks to have made little or no connection to Belgium during his time there, so that’s not an obvious link to make. One of the most commonly referred to scouts, Juanfran, is also Spanish, and has been reportedly spending his time between Spain and Portugal.
Of course, Aston Villa will have a wide array of scouts with feelers across the World, all overseen by Pitarch – but there is no obvious evidence linking us to Belgium, Genk, Brugge or any of the aforementioned players. That, and two of the players are currently away at AFCON.
There’s not even a Jorge Mendes character surrounding the club, which would make sense due to the amount of Portuguese players Wolverhampton Wanderers are linked with.
The only thing that links Aston Villa to Belgium isn’t even a footballing matter, and that’s the citizenship of owner Nassef Sawiris – who it a citizen of both Egypt and Belgium. He’s also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors at ‘Besix Group’, a sustainable construction company based in Brussels. Whether the press are using this to make lazy links is unknown.
Of course, it could simply be that these are all talented players that are playing football at a level where they are bound to attract interest from Premier League sides – especially those like Aston Villa – who have just been promoted, have a squad to fill, and money to spend.
The fees are another cause for concern too – whilst Aston Villa seemingly overpaid for Wesley Moraes, the fee was only a few million over what is considered to be his market value. This is the same for the linked Mbwana Samatta, who was linked with a £12,000,000 move, and Leandro Trossard, who is linked with an £18,000,000 move – although this is slight above his market value too. Already, these are a little more believable.
Marvelous Nakamba however, is being linked with a £20,000,000 move, which is grossly inflated to a point where it’s above three times his suspected market value.
As aforementioned, there’s no real link between Aston Villa and Belgium – and it’s likely a mixture of a number of external factors, being; agents drumming up interest in their clients, talented players being linked with all and sundry or inherently and incredibly lazy journalism using Sawiris as a link to Belgium.