Leander Dendoncker almost moved to West Ham in the January transfer window, as the Anderlecht player again tried to pursue his Premier League dream.
Despite being just 22 years of age, Dendoncker has been linked with a move to English football for some time, and has made no secret of his desire to leave Anderlecht for a Premier League club.
With West Ham keen in the winter window, a deal at one stage looked possible, but Anderlecht put a stop to things on deadline day. Since then Dendoncker has spoken about West Ham being the type of move which could have been ideal for him, and some in Belgium think it’s harming his form.
Anderlecht are something of a soap opera this summer and it’s perhaps unfair so much pressure is put on the youngster.
Last week Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad fired a warning to Dendoncker, saying: ‘We understand that a missed transfer can creep into your head, and you even missed two, but if you want to go to a top competition, you must be mentally strong, as they’ll have no sympathy if you sometimes slip. Focus, you are the captain of Anderlecht. If not, everyone will wonder who will pay €15m for you.’
Roberto Martinez has now also told Dendoncker he needs to focus, for his World Cup chances.
The Belgium manager has been quoted by Het Belang van Limburg as saying: “Dendoncker is still young. In the last two transfer periods he was always in the midst of speculation about new clubs. He must leave that behind him urgently. This happens with a young player but he has to respond now.
“I’m going to follow him very closely now. He knows he will have to show himself to get into the squad, that is obvious. He knows that there is competition. Leander has the advantage that he can play in different positions. He must be aware that he must now focus on his performance on the pitch.”
Should West Ham return in the summer then Dendoncker will likely be thrilled to leave the Anderlecht soap opera behind him… swapping it for the Hammers one.