Liverpool and Arsenal scouts to be fixed on Belgium trio vs Croatia
Senegal train ahead of World Cup clash against England
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A handful of players set to feature in Thursday’s crucial World Cup group stage match between Belgium and Croatia could find themselves under the microscope of several Premier League clubs when the action gets underway. The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are said to be keeping tabs on the World Cup in Qatar in order to scope out potential targets ahead of the January transfer window, which is just around the corner and will represent an opportunity for teams to bolster their ranks for the business end of the season.
The match between Belgium and Croatia will give the aforementioned clubs a good indication as to how their targets perform under the highest pressure, with both teams looking to win in order to reach the World Cup knockout stages. Belgium will get into the last 16 if they manage to claim all three points against Croatia, while a draw would leave them needing a big favour from Canada, who will be facing Morocco at the same time.
Liverpool are likely to be interested in seeing how Jeremy Doku performs if he is given the chance to show his mettle by Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, with the 20-year-old said to be among the names on Jurgen Klopp’s radar ahead of the January window. He has been linked with a potential move for Merseyside for a number of years but could put himself firmly on the map with a strong showing against Croatia, who currently sit at the top of Group F and will secure qualification into the next round with a draw.
Doku joined Rennes in the summer of 2020 for a fee of £23m after making a name for himself in his home country with Anderlecht, but is likely to be sold for a lot more if the French outfit decide to cash in on his signature when the January window rolls around. He is widely considered to be among the finest young prospects in Ligue 1 and has also been tentatively linked with a move to Arsenal, who will be watching his performance against Croatia as they draw up their own plans for the mid-season market.
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Youri Tielemans is also poised to see his performance for Belgium scrutinised by a handful of Premier League admirers as he continues to be tipped to leave Leicester City when his contract expires at the end of the season. Arsenal have been put forward as the frontrunners in the race for his services over the last few months, with Mikel Arteta reportedly keen to snap Tielemans up on a free transfer in the summer.
The Foxes midfielder has played in each of Belgium’s two World Cup matches so far and will be hoping for another start against Croatia in order to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Luka Modric in the engine room. Whether or not he manages to pass such a test under the levels of pressure faced by Belgium could have the potential to make or break Arsenal’s interest, with the Gunners able to benefit from the capture of a first-class operator in the middle of the park next season.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be more interested in seeing how Leandro Trossard fares for Belgium after developing an interest in bringing him to Stamford Bridge in the January window. The Brighton winger is a player that Graham Potter knows well from his time in charge of the Seagulls and has enjoyed a brilliant start to the campaign at club level with nine goals and three assists in all competitions thus far.
Trossard is yet to start a game at the World Cup for Belgium, though, and will be desperate to show what he is capable of against Croatia in order to help his team into the next round while further endearing himself to Chelsea at the same time. It remains to be seen whether Belgium will be able to get the job done on Thursday afternoon, although the match will certainly be an interesting one from a Premier League perspective whatever the result.
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