The brother of first-teamer Eden Hazard is currently on loan at unfancied Belgian outfit Zulte-Waregem; who are mounting a serious title challenge this term much to the surprise of Belgian pundits.
When Chelsea won the battle for Belgian sensation Eden Hazard this summer it marked a serious coup over their Premier League rivals. The likes of Manchester United and Tottenham had also been in hot pursuit of the young playmaker but he decided the best place to continue his footballing education post-Lille was at Stamford Bridge.
In the days following the deal many would have been justified at thinking some media sources had been a little slow on the uptake when they again saw headlines such as ‘Chelsea reach agreement with Hazard’.
On this occasion however it was not Eden but his little brother Thorgan who Chelsea had snapped up. Similar in playing style to his more illustrious older brother the 19-year-old was snapped up from RC Lens in an undisclosed deal at the tail-end of July.
Eden, like a good older brother, was quick to heap praise on his baby bro shortly before the deal was completed by stating that of the two Thorgan was in fact the more talented.
However he does not have the same stocky build that his older sibling has developed over the past two years and this was highlighted by his former Lens youth coach Eric Assadourian:
"Thorgan has great technique, but from an athletic point of view, he lacks power.’’
With that in mind Chelsea would have likely devised a tailor made gym-work programme for the Belgian youth international and they then moved to send him on loan; to middle-of-the-run Belgian outfit Zulte-Waregem.
Yet Thorgan now finds himself in the midst of a shock title tilt as the unfancied side have surprised everyone with their excellent form in the Belgian Jupiler League. Currently they sit in second place with Anderlecht ahead of them by an admittedly large gap; the perennial Belgian powerhouses are eight points clear.
Yet Essevee, who finished 13th last season, have left clubs such as Genk, Club Brugges and Standard Liege trailing in their wake under the guidance of former Belgium under-21 boss Franck Dury. He led the side after their reformation in 2001 for nine years; leading them up the football ladder and into the Jupiler League in 2004-05 before leaving for KAA Gent in 2010. Now he has returned and is achieving unthinkable things at the club.
Currently four points clear of third placed Lokeren there is little doubt that Thorgan finds himself at a team mounting a surprise title challenge. Considering the potential for Anderlecht to lose players such as Dieumerci Mbokani and Lucas Biglia this January there is no reason to believe they cannot push on for the title.
The Belgian league decides their champions over a ‘Championship Play-Off’ so even if Anderlecht do runaway in the points classification they will still have the opportunity to challenge for the championship in the play-offs.
So while Eden remains at Chelsea; who look increasingly unlikely to be in the title mix come the seasons end; it appears his little brother Thorgan will certainly be in a battle for a Championship this term.
image: © mikehamm