OH Leuven still have ambition of pushing for top six and developing talent for Leicester City

Het Nieuwsblad spoke to fans who attended a recent meeting between various OH Leuven staff and fan groups to discuss the situation at the club. In the hotseat was CEO Peter Willems, who was subject of angry chanting from the fans following a 5-1 defeat to Union St Gilloise at the weekend.

Despite a poor start and a mixed transfer window, Willems was keen to iterate that the side had ambitions of pushing for the top six. The CEO also revealed that, given the clubs close relationship with Leicester City through King Power, part of their plan is to develop players for the Foxes. However, outside of Nathaniel Opoku, who is on loan from the English side, very few players have been developed at Leuven in recent years. Barely any of the current Leicester City side have gone through Belgium before making it in England. The most recent to go on to bigger things was Kamal Sowah, who was developed by OHL before Leicester sold him for around €6m to Club Brugge.

From the outside, the idea that the side could push for a top six finish feels farcical. They did manage to come close last season, but there are plenty of holes in a squad that have been obvious since the beginning of the summer. It is not surprising that fans are frustrated. Last season, their transfer business in the summer was incredibly underwhelming, with a number of their signings leaving midway through the season having failed to come off.

Perhaps the best summary, from an outside view anyway, of the clubs approach is the situation of Kristiyan Malinov. The Bulgarian central midfielder was given a new contract in January 2023, however on the 8th of August 2023 the contract was mutually terminated. Now, the midfielder looks set to join Kortrijk.

So far this season, the side have one point from three games. That point came in the opening game against Charleroi, with their opponents playing with 10 men for the majority of the game. They then lost to RWDM before the embarrassing loss away to Union. Given that the ambition has been given to be pushing the top sides in Belgium, the club have certainly opened themselves up to plenty of criticism amongst the fans should they fail to deliver.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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