Arsenal face forgotten Newcastle target and ‘Belgian Iniesta’

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Newcastle United fans tuning into Sky Sports 1’s coverage of Arsenal’s trip to Brussels to face Anderlecht this Wednesday could come face-to-screen with an exciting young prospect who was once being lined up for a move to the Toon.

Two years ago the Magpies were reportedly scouting an exciting young Belgian midfielder by the name of Dennis Praet, an 18-year-old attacking talent who had burst onto the scene at the club having been poached as a youngster from rivals Genk in 2010.

Coaches Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley were dispatched to watch the playmaker in action, with price of just £4m quoted by the Sunday Express, who broke news of the potential move back in December 2012.

Ultimately though, Newcastle failed to complete a deal for Praet, who has remained at Anderlecht and gone from strength to strength ever since.

Over the previous two seasons Praet played 85 games for Anderlecht scoring 11 goals in the process and has helped his side win back-to-back Pro League titles during his time at the club.

One for the future of the Belgium national team, the slight midfielder has already represented his country at under-21 level and was recently compared to one Barcelona star by former teammate Tom De Sutter.

“Dennis plays like Iniesta,” the now-Club Brugge player said. “He’s got good technique, he’s solid, holds on to the ball well, keeps things simple and doesn’t panic. His vision of the game is incredible.”

He’s also proven himself to have something of an eye for goal, having scored Anderlecht’s opener in a 1-1 draw with Galatasaray in the Champions League on Matchday One.

Now set to go up against Arsenal in the competition, the 20-year-old star is available at 11/2 to find the net at anytime in front of his own fans.

And with another black-and-white-adorned side, Juventus, reportedly tracking the midfielder’s progress ahead of a potential move, a star showing at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium could mean good news for Praet and bad news for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger this Wednesday.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.