This article is part of Football FanCast’s Expert Roundup feature, which provides three quotes from those in the know in order to illuminate fundamental strengths, weaknesses, quirks, stylistic comparisons and general observations of players, transfer targets and confirmed signings.
Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet is a wanted man this summer with Arsenal reportedly keen back in June only for the Gunners’ interest to be usurped by AC Milan’s intentions to keep the highly-rated Belgian in Serie A.
Now there is a new player in the game in the form of Leicester City who are said to have offered a double-your-money deal to Praet last month in an attempt to secure his services.
Yet despite all of this attention, Praet remains a somewhat unknown quantity on our shores and given it is a possibility, even likelihood, he will be parading his talents in the Premier League this term perhaps it’s time to put that right.
With this in mind, here are the opinions of those in the know…
Before Van den Brom took charge of the Purple and Whites, Praet was 18-years-old and just a bit-part of the senior team. By the time the coach left two years later his prized asset was in possession of Belgian’s Golden Shoe.
You would expect him then to rave about his prodigy and as per Sport Magazine, the current Utrecht boss doesn’t disappoint.
“I am a big fan of Dennis. He is a future top player. He is technically perfect; has a good mentality; good changeover – that boy has a lot. He only gets better when he starts playing. Sensible boy too. Can you enjoy it as a coach? He does everything he does with an idea. I like that.”
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The admiration is not reserved only for the touchline either. Forward De Sutter benefitted from Praet’s centre-circle scheming for two campaigns in the municipality and in total scored 36 goals for Anderlecht.
His take on the 25-year-old should be of particular interest to Jamie Vardy should Praet move to the King Power, as he was compared to one of the greats of the Spanish game. As per Sport Magazine, De Sutter said:
“Praet was a bit like Andrés Iniesta at the time. His style of play is very similar to that of the Barcelona player. Strong technique, good vision, keeps the ball very well and often looks for the simplest solution.”
Iniesta is a lofty comparison indeed but Giampaolo – the player’s manager at Sampdoria until this May – was happy earlier this year to pitch his assessment in the same exclusive ball-park.
It should be noted incidentally that the Swiss coach is now at Milan which surely explains their active interest.
As per Calcio Mercato, he commented:
“Praet can be the Modric or the Pjanic of tomorrow because he knows how to play, fight and has the right competitive spirit.”
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After concerns about Praet’s physical stature early in his career, the midfielder has grown in every sense, blossoming into a silky central midfielder who ticks over possession neatly and with no little intelligence.
He may not get onto the score-sheet often, nor is he an assist king but with an agreement in place between player and club that he can leave Sampdoria this summer – thus surely driving down his fee – the purchase of Praet amounts to a no-brainer.