By Aramide Oladipo
Anderlecht have issued a hands-off warning to Everton and the other clubs reportedly chasing midfielder Leander Dendoncker.
The Beligan club hierarchy have taken a strong stance to interest in their prize asset and are do not want to cash in on him this summer.
The Sun report that Everton manager Ronald Koeman “has tracked his fellow Dutch speaker throughout the season, and has repeatedly had him watched” as he seeks a replacement for veteran anchorman Gareth Barry, 36.
Anderlecht chief executive Herman van Holsbeeck was quoted in the Sun as saying that: “We are going to hold on to Dendoncker. Half the Premier League’s clubs want to sign him.”
“But if we want a good base to our team next season it’s vital to keep Leander.
“With the money we’ll get from being in the Champions League we can build a team around him.”
This will come as a massive disappointment for Everton as Belgian newspaper HLN claimed that the Toffees were keeping close tabs on the Belgian international as they recently sent scouts to watch him play.
Dendoncker has been playing for Anderlecht since 2013 and he’s evolved and become an important part of the team as he helped the Belgian side to secure the league title this season.
The midfield enforcer has been an ever-present in the side this season, making 51 appearances in all competitions and scoring five goals, including the equaliser in Europa League first leg tie against Manchester United.
Football Insider verdict
This news will a huge blow to Ronald Koeman regarding his plans for the transfer window as Dendoncker seems to have the perfect attributes to bring balance to the Everton midfield. The Merseyside club would definitely be a harder team to break down with the Belgian in the middle of the park alongside Idrissa Gueye. The positive for the Everton boss is that the chief executive only mentioned keeping the midfielder at the club for the following season. Dendoncker is very young and there are still aspects where he can improve so Everton might need to hold off during this summer and re-enter the race in January or the summer before the 2018/19 season.
In other Everton transfer news, Harry Redknapp has revealed he has been told there’s a strong chance this Toffees star will leave this summer.