What does Youri Tielemans offer on the pitch?
Before we get into just what Youri Tielemans could offer on the pitch, we need to preface this section with a dose of reality; Neither Tielemans, nor any player that Dortmund sign, are likely to be one to one replacements for Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham’s talent as a midfield all-rounder, his everlasting engine on the pitch and overall skill on the ball are the markers of a generational, once in a blue moon midfielder that BVB will quite possibly not see the like of for some time. That being said, it may take more than one player to “replace” what Jude brings to the table. Couple this with the fact that Dortmund are now confirmed to be parting ways with a multitude of players that could have featured in midfield next season, they will be looking to sign more than one player for their midfield this summer. Tielemans undoubtedly has the talent to be one of those midfielders.
Tielemans, in terms of his play-style, often fills the role of a deep lying playmaker, who is known for his technical ability and progressive passing. Despite plying his trade for a now relegated Leicester City side over the course of the previous season, Tielemans still finds himself in the 84th percentile of progressive passes made (6.95 per 90).
Aside from his contributions progressing the ball forward, Tielemans also offers quite a bit in terms of his defensive output. The Belgian international has a good sense of positioning, and has acceptable numbers in terms of tackles and blocks this season, despite his former club’s current situation. Tielemans found himself putting in 2.53 tackles per 90 minutes and 1.34 blocks per game over the course of the last year. His numbers are likely diminished in terms of what they could have been as the entirety of Leicester’s squad struggled this season, which is why they find themselves in the position that they do.
Looking at seasons past, where his team was not underperforming however, Tielemans strikes the figure of a far more assured midfielder, who has the talent to go forward to great effect and both score goals as well as string together some very intricate and pinpoint passes for his teammates. He has a particularly good shot from distance, which he has exhibited on numerous occasions while playing in England.
Youri Tielemans has the ability to dribble past opponents and create chances, but also uses this to his advantage when shielding the ball and making sure his team retains possession. He can squirm his way out of an opposition’s press and launch the ball forward to great effect. This is something that Dortmund will now be missing with Bellingham on the move, as he was one of their best players in both areas. His ability to put in a pinpoint, long range pass has unlocked opposition defenses, leading to crucial chances being created and converted. Dortmund will want to retain this as part of their arsenal. They still have players like Mats Hummels to rely on for their long range distribution, but adding a player like Tielemans would only add to and diversify their options in this respect.