Saturday 24 March 2018

Meet the striker half the Premier League wants to sign and will scout tomorrow night

Laurent Depoitre is in demand at Gent
Laurent Depoitre is in demand at Gent

It might not be the most alluring tie of the Champions League last 16, but for 13 Premier League clubs, Gent vs Wolfsburg is the must-watch game of the week.

Scouts from England's top flight are descending en masse to Gent's 20,000-capacity Ghelamco Arena to watch Laurent Depoitre, a striker who has rapidly become one of the continent's most in-demand players.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham are all among those clubs sending representatives to the game with a view to assessing Depoitre, according to the Belgian press.

They will be joined by scouts from Leicester, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Aston Villa, Everton, West Ham, Southampton, West Brom and Sunderland.

Depoitre's current deal expires in June 2017 and he is unlikely to sign a new one, after deciding he would like to test himself in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old has 10 goals to his name in the Belgian league this season - including four in his last six games - although he registered just once in the Champions League group phase.

Tottenham were the closest Premier League club to making a formal move for a player who has spent his whole career in the Belgian league and won the league title with Gent last season, scoring 13 goals in the process.

They sent scouts to watch him before Christmas as their interest in Saido Berahino began to wane. Belgian talent-spotter Bjorn Moons and chairman Daniel Levy’s trusted scout Ian Broomfield both made regular visits to see him play and were reportedly impressed by what they saw.

Depoitre - who was fined €300 for speeding by Belgian police last month - is a tough, physical striker whose style has been compared to Christian Benteke by Belgian pundits.

Former Gent goalkeeper Fred Herpoel confirmed Tottenham’s interest in Depoitre by saying: “Depoitre, I think he will soon leave Gent.

"I do not know if it will be for January, but in any case I think he will go to England at Tottenham. He has no offer, but I know that Tottenham are closely following him.”

Online Editors

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