One of the best pickups for an MLS team last year was USMNT midfield player Mix Diskerud, who spent a couple years playing for Gent in Belgium. The Belgian Pro League is one the best development leagues in the world.
Belgium itself may not be large, with a meager population of just over 11 million citizens, but that doesn't stop them from having a consistent dark horse national team and a strong league to develop talent from. An under-looked league and country many times over who surprise over and over again.
There are several players from the Belgian Pro League without contracts as of very recently or are coming up on a non-renewed contract which leaves potential for picks ups.
Kitambala is a pacey and powerful attacking French international who mixes between left-wing and striker. One of Kitambala's biggest assets is his work-rate and versatility on the field. There is nothing crazy about his passing or dribbling; Kitambala sticks to the fundamentals and does them quite well. For only being 5ft 10in, Kitambala is a tough player to take off the ball and can run with strength well. His finishing and service are quite good and a lot of it has to do with his strong left foot.
Kitambala is able to take balls from the right wing and shoot them with accuracy in or push down the wing easily. Right now Kitambala's value is fluctuating around 800 thousand euros and his contract comes up in just over two weeks. At twenty-six years of age, Kitambala could be a star for Portland, but he would need to be persuaded considering the language barrier and distance from home.
The twenty-one-year-old Belgian international is in a similar position to Kitambala in that his contract comes up at the end of the month. Many have asked for younger players that could grow with the team and Rits could be just that. Rits is an attacking midfield player who has jumped around the Belgian Pro league and the club Ajax. Rits, from what can be gathered, is an aggressive, service-based midfield player who has solid finishing but is at his best when he is setting up his strikers. There will be no physicality records broken by Rits, he is a technician and plays a game revolving around his passes and precise footwork.
Is he the finisher and goal poacher many have been looking for? No, he is not. Rits could grow with the team for many years and could add some of the tenacity of the Belgian Pro League. Currently, Rits is going for around 700 thousand on a free transfer. Maybe he could be brought down by allocation money or negotiated the chance to come over to MLS for a twenty-one-year-old would be quite the experience for someone who doesn't seem to be getting calls from the bigger European leagues.
Faris Haroun is a Belgian who has jumped around The Belgian Pro League and the English Championship (league right below the Premiership) for the last several years. Haroun is a large guy at a little over 6ft 3inches and has the strength the match. In the air, Haroun is a formidable opponent for covering defenders and can read plays quite well. Haroun is able to mix around the attacking end of the field playing as both wingers along with most playing as an attacking midfielder or second striker.
Haroun has great passing and service, but he shines in his ability to keep a play alive with his dribbling and strength and mixes that with his finish ability. The speed he runs won't set any records and he is not an incredibly agile player on the ball, but he does what he sets out to well. Faroun could sit behind a more pacey and dynamic striker and feed and play off them in the opposing third creating lots of plays and being a set piece monster. At 800 thousand euros, Haroun is a bit pricey, but he definitely has some history to justify that price and at twenty-nine he still has plenty of life on him.
The most proven talent on the list, Sekou Cisse is recently thirty and his contract comes up in two weeks without any signs of an extension. Cisse is right in the spot where he has lots of life in his legs still and has the experience to mentor some younger players on the roster. An Ivorian international, Cisse has played several matches for The Ivory Coast scoring four goals for them in twelve caps. Cisse is just over 6 feet tall and has some great ability in the air utilizing his height and explosion well. Much like Frances Kitambala, Cisse has played the majority of his career as a left-winger and striker and more so as the winger. Cisse has a great cross in and has great finishing in the box.
His touch on the ball is quite technical and has the strength the keep plays alive much like Haroun. There are lots of things Portland will be looking for when bringing on a player, and Cisse can bring an immediate impact on the field and on off it mentoring young players. There are loads of things Cisse could help Adi or Urutti with and still be out there scoring goals every weekend. This comes with a price and his value is sitting at around 1.8 million euros, so he is no cheap pick up. Cisse is a long-term investment in the club sort of pick up and fills a void for a consistent winger or striker for the club.
The Belgian Pro League is one of the best developmental leagues in the world and has some great potential here in this list. The value found here is pretty solid and arguably better than the last two leagues we covered here(BPL)and here(Serie A) . Let us know if I missed someone or what you think of these players. Also, let me know which league you would like to see done next.