The 5 future Premier League stars from Belgium vs Russia

Steven Defour Belgium

With the World Cup continuing to excite, Jack Beresford looks at five players from Belgium and Russia who could be ready for a move to England.

Russia may have started their World Cup campaign with an uninspired 1-1 draw against Korea Republic, but better things are expected when they line up against Belgium.

The Red Devils made hard work of Algeria in the first game, but with a wealth of talent set to take to the pitch for both teams, we’ve identified five players who could be heading to the Premier League soon.

Axel Witsel – Zenit St Petersburg

A versatile midfielder capable of playing in a central, attacking or right-wing role, Witsel previously caught the eye of a whole host of Premier League teams after impressing with Benfica in Portugal.

Despite this, in 2012, Witsel opted for a switch to Zenit, who shelled out €40 million for the 25-year-old. He does remain open to a move though, having previously told publication Sportwereld:

"I hope for a big club. I also see my teammates playing at teams like Chelsea or Manchester United but it doesn’t worry me a bit.

“There will come a day when one of those clubs will show interest and I can leave. My preference goes out to the Premier League.”

Vladimir Granat – Dinamo Moscow

A mainstay of the Dinamo Moscow backline, where he is nearing a decade of service, Granat’s international career has so far failed to hit the same heights, with the 27-year-old limited to just five caps so far.

And with a World Cup on home soil just around the corner and Fabio Capello bemoaning the fitness of Russia’s homegrown players, a move to the Premier League could seal his place as part of the 2018 World Cup plans.

Versatile enough to play one of either centre-back or left-back, he could be the ideal acquisition for a Tottenham team keen to reinforce their backline.

Divock Origi – Olympique Lille

Previously scouted by the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, having impressed during his two-year spell to date with Little, Origi also boasts a fine record at youth international level for Belgium.

And he could be about to make a name for himself at the World Cup with first choice striker Romelu Lukaku struggling for fitness and form. Origi had some good touches for the Red Devils in their 2-1 win over Algeria and there could be more to come here.

Oleg Shatov – Zenit St Petersburg

One of the many jewels in the Zenit St Petersburg crown, Shatov previously impressed with Anzhi Makhachkala before financial difficulties saw the player sold to Russian Premier League rivals Zenit, where he has put in some good performances.

They certainly caught the eye of Capello, who drafted the midfielder into the Russia national team last year, with Shatov remaining part of his plans ever since. Once rumoured to be on the radars of both Arsenal and Everton in the past, a good World Cup could see a big money bid materialise.

Steven Defour – FC Porto

A captain at Standard Liege at the age of just 19, Defour moved to Porto in 2011, going on to win two Primeira League titles with the Portuguese giants. Despite not always being a regular for the Lisbon club, Defour remains a popular part of the Belgium national team setup.

He’s also done enough to catch the attention of Aston Villa, who have been linked with a move for the midfielder.

Defour, himself, seems keen on the idea, telling Het Laatste Nieuws: "I still dream of the Premier League, but I don't know if it's realistic for someone who isn't even a first-team regular at Porto.”

Do enough for World Cup dark horses Belgium this summer and that situation could change.


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