Manchester United target Leander Dendoncker to be allowed to leave Anderlecht in the near future


Manchester United were linked to Anderlecht midfielder Leander Dendoncker late in the summer but a move did not materialise for the 22-year-old Belgian who caught Jose Mourinho’s eye in the UEFA Europa League last season after scoring a sublime goal against United in the first leg of the quarter-final in April. Dendoncker saw teammate Youri Tielemans leave the Belgian side to AS Monaco in the summer and with the speculation, it seemed that Dendoncker wanted to move to a better league than the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium.

It is being reported through quotes from Anderlecht sporting director Herman van Holsbeeck that the club were willing to sort out a future transfer for Dendoncker after confirming that the player’s head was elsewhere after speculation linking the player with the Old Trafford club. United had made an enquiry over the future of Dendoncker in the summer following his performances against Mourinho’s side, but the Portuguese manager did not firm up that enquiry, signing former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, his final signing of the summer, other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course.

The 6′ 2″ midfielder who has been a powerhouse at times, in the Belgian league anyway is valued at between £22 million and £31 million, which in the current market is a decent fee for a player with his entire career ahead of him. Van Holsbeeck has suggested that Dendoncker could follow Tielemans by leaving Anderlecht, which would be a blow for the club but in the past and seemingly heading into the future, they are not a club willing to hold a player back from reaching for his dreams in a bid to better himself, which is a good thing. Speaking to Sport/Foot and reported by the Manchester Evening News, Van Holsbeeck said:

“Dendoncker’s head was elsewhere.

“He showed his disappointment during training at not being transferred. His mate, Tielemans, went to Monaco, he was training with the national team and he wanted, like them, to play in the biggest leagues.

“Certain people in his entourage put pressure on me, on the club or on his agent, Christophe Henrotay.

“Today, we’re prepared to pay him based on his status of key player and to work on his future transfer like we did for Youri. In fact, we all have an interest in working together.”

Dendoncker has made 126 appearances since he made his Anderlecht debut in 2014, scoring ten goals, which for a defensive minded midfielder is not that bad – he is tasked to do other things than score goals, which is probably a reason why many supporters do not rate the player, seemingly looking at the number of goals scored like it means something. At the end of the current season, United will have the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, and Ander Herrera out of contract, seemingly with Mourinho seeking to keep hold of at least one of Fellaini and Herrera, maybe even both of them.

Michael Carrick may end up retiring at the end of the season. In the summer he signed a new one-year contract and was named the club captain, but is yet to feature for United this season, which may suggest he is not able to play as much as he has done over the years. Should Carrick leave the club at the end of the season, Dendoncker could fill the void left by the player, also fortify United for the future, allowing the Belgian to not be thrown in at the deep end with Matic still at the club, therefore giving him time to adapt to a tougher league and what is expected of a player in the Premier League.

Whether Mourinho and United feel the same is something that we shall find out either in January, which is the first possible chance United could strengthen, failing that it will be in the summer but with the FIFA World Cup in Russia and the closure of the summer transfer window happening before the first Premier League match next season, United could be left with little time to secure transfers, which may mean they need to sort them out during the season, with the formalities being tied up at the end of the season.

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