Over the last decade, English football has seen an influx of Belgian stars arrive and leave their mark in the Premier League. Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ has seen a number of world-class stars emerge from the continental nation, and demonstrate their true worth in the most exciting league in the world.
From old school centre-backs to finely-tuned modern-day attackers, we take a look at the five best Belgian imports the Premier League has ever seen.
Signing for Chelsea in 2011, Romelu Lukaku initially struggled when he first came to England, but a successful loan spell at West Bromwich Albion demonstrated his potential. He scored 17 goals whilst at the Baggies and was farmed out to Everton the season after, scoring 15 goals for the Toffees in 2013/14.
A permanent switch to Goodison Park followed in the summer, where the burly striker was truly inspirational in his three years on Merseyside. Such was Lukaku’s form, Manchester United came calling and he made the switch to Old Trafford in 2017. Although he hasn’t hit the heights he did with West Brom and Everton, Lukaku has made a lasting impression in the Premier League.
Arguably the most underrated player the Premier League has seen, Mousa Dembele was a genuine asset to Tottenham Hotspur during his tenure. Cool, calm and collected, Dembele was an artist in his own right and would provide the fulcrum to everything good Spurs have done.
Prior to his brilliant spell at White Hart Lane, Dembele made his name at London neighbours Fulham and became an instant hit with Cottagers supporters. The Belgian enforcer is considered one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe, and although he went under the radar somewhat for a number of years, it’s impossible not to appreciate the natural talent Dembele possesses.
Ignoring his injury problems, Vincent Kompany is possibly one of the best players the Premier League has ever seen, let alone hailing from Belgium. The no-nonsense centre-back has skippered Manchester City for the last eight seasons, lifting three Premier League trophies in the process.
Kompany is the only surviving member from Sheikh Mansour’s initial spending spree from 2008, which further highlights just how key he has been to the Citizens’ recent success. Ask any City fan who their best ever defender is, the vast majority, if not all, will not hesitate in naming Kompany. A truly inspirational player.
Similarly to Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne failed to establish himself at Chelsea when he signed in 2012. However, after a very successful spell at Wolfsburg in Germany, De Bruyne was snapped up by City and has gone on to earn legendary status since.
With 44 assists and 22 Premier League goals to his name, De Bruyne has continued to flourish at City and is highly-regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. The Belgian playmaker really ties the City team together, and he’ll continue to demonstrate his talent for years to come with his artistic style of play.
Finally, a Belgian player that made the grade at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard has continued to excel since signing for Chelsea in 2012 and remains one of the most influential players in Europe. Renowned for his agility, speed, dribbling and strong eye for goal, Hazard demonstrates all the key attributes that make him a global superstar.
The attacking winger has often been linked with Real Madrid, and it’s no surprise due to the natural talent Hazard possesses. To date, Hazard has won five major honours with Chelsea including two Premier League titles. Although a third title looks beyond the former Lille star this season, you can check out the Premier League winner odds on Betfair right now.
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