Mechelen’s Aster Vranckx is considered one of the biggest prospects in Belgian football. The young central midfielder broke into the first team during the 2019/20 season at the age of 17 and by the end of the season was starting and playing 90 minutes for the first team. He has immediately become one of the most highly anticipated players in the Belgian League, which is known for developing players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and others. While many may have noticed his recent miss during a game against KV Oostende which went viral, it is certainly not an adequate reflection of the player Aster Vranckx is.
Many clubs are apparently looking at Vranckx, with his age and potential it isn’t difficult to see why some major clubs may decide to make a move for the youngster in the near future. Yet for this season it looks like he is set to stay at Mechelen until next summer, with the club unwilling to sell a hot prospect whose stock is only likely to rise as he improves. For Vranckx, remaining with the Belgian side guarantees him playing time and thus aids his own development.
Here is our World Tour report on Aster Vranckx.
While the talent is undoubtedly there with Aster Vranckx, there are clearly some areas to improve upon. His two goals against Sint-Truiden this season highlighted his technical ability when dribbling and controlling a football, especially under pressure. Each of his three goals so far this season show how he likes to push up into the box to finish off attacks. Vranckx is averaging 1.9 shots per game, with 0.7 on target. Increasing this should in turn boost his goalscoring statistics, yet it is also encouraging that 0.9 of his shots are coming inside the penalty area, increasing the likelihood of them resulting in goals.
As a passer, Vranckx averages around 24.7 per match with an accuracy of 79.8%. While these numbers don’t leap off the page, when we consider that Vranckx isn’t the main playmaker for the side they are by no means bad. They like to get the ball wide and cross, meaning that Vranckx doesn’t always have to get involved in building the play and can focus on getting into the box to support the striker. This is where the composure he showed twice to score against Sint-Truiden is noteworthy, as he has shown that the technical ability is there to score goals and by getting in the box often he is giving himself more opportunities.
KV Mechelen like to get the ball wide to get crosses in. They use either a 4-3-3- or a 4-2-3-1 formation with an emphasis on finding wingers to put the ball in. Vranckx desire to get into the box often highlights his tactical awareness and understanding of his role. Anytime we see Mechelen crossing the ball, Vranckx is in the box supporting the striker.
Aster Vranckx plays in a team that likes to press. When we look at his defensive data we see that Vranckx is reasonably effective in this system, averaging 2.1 successful tackles out of the 3.1 attempted tackles per 90. However, he also is one of the leading players when it comes to fouls in the league at 3.28 per 90 with 3 yellow cards so far this season. As part of a midfield three, Vranckx is rarely the player designated to win the ball back, as there is usually a player deeper than him whose task it is to do this. He appears to have the talent to contribute at the defensive end, but will need to reduce the frequency of his fouls and bookings.
Despite only being 18, Vranckx is already physically ready to compete at high levels. He is able to hold players off and not be pushed off the ball easily. Standing at 183cm tall, he is average height and therefore has enough to be competitive in the air. This season he is averaging 1.3 total aerial duels per 90 according to Whoscored, of which he is winning 0.6 and losing 0.7. This is certainly an area he could look to improve upon. Yet with teams preferring to keep the ball on the deck and pass their way out these days, it is by no means a crucial component of his game that needs attention.
He is reasonably athletic, able to transition the play with a fair amount of acceleration and top speed. Coupling his speed with his strength and height, Vranckx is a good physical prospect who could survive in any major league.
It is difficult not to be excited by the potential of the young Belgian. Manchester City have scouted him and are said to be one of a number of clubs interested. His agent, however, has claimed that Aster Vranckx is unlikely to move to a bigger European side anytime soon, as he doesn’t want his client continuously loaned out. This may enhance his potential, as he is looking set to only move on from Mechelen when his agent believes the move will guarantee him playing time.
Being one of the top players in the Belgian Pro League is something Vranckx will probably achieve over the next two years if he continues on his current trajectory. After that then a move to a bigger European league is certainly on the cards.