In May 2020, Manchester City acquired Belgian side Lommel SK to join the ever growing City Group. The small club from the north-west of Belgium had just finished sixth in the second tier, a league they have been in for well over a decade now. Since taking over, the best the side has finished is fourth in their first season. However, promotion has never been the main objective for the club. Instead, it was making the club run more professionally on and off the pitch.
With that achieved, this season they are going for promotion. Under Arsenal legend Steve Bould, the side are currently top of the Challenger Pro League, with six wins and just two defeats from their opening two games. This year two sides will gain automatic promotion to the top flight, with teams that finish between third and sixth battling it out for a chance at the promotion play-off against the team in third bottom in the Pro League.
One of the top performers for Lommel this season has been 18-year-old Hungarian teenager Zalán Vancsa. The Hungarian U21 international joined the side in January 2022 for around €3m, before being loaned back to his club MTK Budapest for a few months. Last season the winger played 23 games for the club, scoring once and providing two assists.
This season, he has taken his game to another level. In just eight games he has already scored twice and provided three assists. Vancsa gives Bould plenty of versatility, being able to feature on either wing or as an advanced midfielder. One of his goals showed real quality, coming late in the day to beat recently relegated Oostende.
After the international break, Lommel travel to Beerschot before a huge clash with second place Zulte Waregem on the 27th of October. Should Vancsa continue this fine form for the side, expect to see City either bring him into the main squad over the summer of 2024, or move him to one of their other clubs to experience playing at a higher level. The latter may well be dependent on how Lommel end their season, as promotion could see them keep hold of some of the key young talent they have received as a result of being part of the City Group.