Sint-Truiden early relegation favourites as talent drain continues

Sint-Truiden were one of the stories of the season last year. The side, one of the favourites for relegation, completely disregarded the early season pessimism to finish mid-table, have a shot at European football and play a attractive brand of attacking football. However, as was expected, the squad is being picked apart this summer. Thorsten Fink, Jarne Steuckers and Matte Smets have all departed to join Genk. Now, Rein Van Helden and Mattias Delorge are linked with moves away, and Aboubakary Koita, the sides top scorer, appears to be heading to Greece. At the other end of the pitch, talented goalkeeper Zion Suzuki looks set to move to Serie A.

So far, the side have only brought in two players for new head coach Christian Lattanzio. Both of these were there on loan last season in Ryoya Ogawa, who will step into the shoes of the departing Eric Bocat who joined Stoke, and then Rihito Yamamoto. The side are now looking incredibly light in defence. If Suzuki goes, a new goalkeeper will need to be signed. Smets certainly needs to be replaced, especially as Rein Van Helden looks set to join Mechelen.

Stueckers was the key creator for the side last season, and without him the expansive style of play brought in by Fink will be hard to replicate. His creativity and then Koita’s goals will be incredibly hard to replace, especially when you consider that the fees for these star players from last year are relatively small in comparison to other Pro League sides.

As of the beginning of July, Sint-Truiden look like one of the sides that will be in a relegation battle. Last season, Fink turned to youth and proved everyone wrong. Now, this youth has moved on. Do Sint-Truiden have another crop of talented youngster to fill the void? Or, are they capable of raiding the transfer market for adequate replacements without breaking the bank? Time will tell.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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