Nacer Chadli joins Spurs’ Belgian contingent

By | July 21, 2013

Nacer Chadli with three of his Premier League chums and Axel Witsel

Nacer Chadli with three of his Premier League chums and Axel Witsel

Twente midfielder Nacer Chadli has signed for Spurs for a fee of €7 million. The fee is low as he’s out of contract in the summer. Chadli is a member of the Belgium national squad and played in the last World Cup qualifier against Serbia in June. It’s an excellent signing for Spurs and at the club he’ll join up with Belgian team-mates Moussa Dembélé and Jan Vertonghen.

Chadli had dual Belgian and Moroccan nationality and in 2011 he opted to represent Belgium. Like many players who started their career with Standard Liege, he felt he had to leave the club in order to progress. Chadli moved to Maastricht and then went on to Dutch second division club Apeldoorn where he was given a chance by current Anderlecht coach John van den Brom.

After attracting the attention of first division clubs, in 2010 Chadli moved to Twente and quickly became a regular first team choice on the wing. Since then he has scored 40 goals in 123 games, including his first European goal in a Champions League game against Spurs.

In the past season, Chadli has tended to play more in central midfield for both club and country. For Belgium under Georges Leekens, Chadli was seen as a winger in competition with Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas but that changed once Marc Wilmots took over. Wilmots has tended to use him in a creative midfield role. In that position, Chadli’s had more minutes (220 in four games) than Marouane Fellaini (204) in World Cup qualifiers and it appears that Wilmots rates the ex Twente player highly. After the match with Macedonia, Wilmots said Chadli had changed the game after coming on as a substitute. “We profited from Chadli’s strength, speed and heading ability.”

Chadli has certainly grasped his opportunities. In the rankings given by the Dernière Heure newspaper, he’s had the highest ratings (7.5) – along with Axel Witsel – of any Belgian player in the qualifiers. Ironically, one of his main competitors for a place in Belgium’s midfield will be club colleague Dembélé.

The one doubt about Chadli is his fitness as he has had several injuries during his career to-date. Despite that, I would hesitate to say he’s injury prone. If he does stay fully fit this season, Chadli has a major role to play for both club and country.

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