Westerlo were one of the busiest sides in the summer transfer window. According to Transfermarkt, the side spent around €16m on new players to freshen up the squad. However, the influx has not had an immediate impact. The side are currently bottom of the Belgian Pro League with just one point from their opening seven games. Even more concerning is the fact that their solitary point came from the opening game against Eupen, when the side from east Belgium gifted them two goals in their 2-2 draw.
Much of the money spent has been reinvesting the millions they earned in the sale of Lyle Forster to Burnley. Strikers Lucas Stassin and Matija Frigan have come in, and both have already found the net twice. However, at the other end the side have really struggled. Nick Giliekens has taken over from Sinan Bolat in goal, but he has been far from convincing in his four matches so far. They have already conceded 16 goals this season, just three less than the highest in that category which is Kortrijk. For the latter, six of those came in one game.
In fairness to Westerlo, their opening schedule was tough. Outside of Eupen, they face Club Brugge, Gent and Anderlecht back to back, with Antwerp and Cercle Brugge thrown in as well. However, the draw to the Pandas and their dramatic defeat to KV Mechelen have caused major concern. The 3-2 defeat to Malinwa came after they had gone 2-0 up, with Steven Defour’s side scoring three goals in the final 16 minutes to win the game.
Jonas De Roeck was one of the managers of the season last year when he guided the newly promoted side to play-off two. Now, he finds himself under immense pressure. Money has been spent, which already adds expectation. The gap to 12th place, which is guaranteed safety from relegation under the new play-off system, is already five points. The team occupying that spot is currently Standard Liege, who Westerlo face this coming weekend. Standard got their first win of the season and look to be a far better side now that new players have been added.
Defeat to Standard at the weekend will certainly test the hierarchy at Westerlo in terms of the faith they have in De Roeck. He has arguably earned himself trust given the sides performances over the last two years, yet in Belgium you are never too far away from the sack if you don’t get the results on the pitch.