Mazzu pushes top purchase towards exit

Mission accomplished: there is not much more to say about the 0-2 victory of Anderlecht on a visit to the modest Paide Linnameeskond. The first hurdle towards the Conference League was thus overcome, although that does not completely remove the pressure on Felice Mazzu. RSCA’s coach himself made a clear decision on Thursday. The most expensive purchase in the Peter Verbeke era is apparently already available.

Not that we should draw many conclusions from the Estonia victory. The level of the opponent was too limited for that, a trap that we can no longer fall after the excellent preparation of the record champion. Although the inhabitants of Brussels had it especially in the initial phase, when the live stream also did not want to cooperate, it was not under the market. The critical part of the fans was therefore ready to express their dissatisfaction with the mediocre display they were shown. Mazzu may from now on suddenly start talking about processes and beautiful football, winning the supporters of predecessor Vincent Kompany still seems an almost impossible task to this day. However, the coach did his best to charm them on Thursday.


For the first European assignment of the season, which was a prominent goal after all, he went all out for the youth. Zeno Debast, Hannes Delcroix and Yari Verschaeren appeared at the kick-off as usual, as did Francis Amuzu. The replacement for Sergio Gomez on the left may have played his last match for RSCA, although he is still part of the match squad against Seraing on Sunday, just like Gomez. Much more striking, however, was the tandem Anouar Ait El Hadj and Kristian Arnstad in the center of midfield. Average age: 19 years. Reportedly, even the hastily dropped out of Noah Sadiki was normally provided with a starting spot. In Youth We Trust suddenly seemed back. Although Mazzu will probably choose Adrien Trebel and Majeed Ashimeru again in the ashes.

The new role of Ait El Hadj, slightly lower than we are used to from him, nevertheless caught the eye. Higher on the field, the spots are therefore very expensive. Lior Refaelov once again illustrated his importance for Anderlecht with a goal and an assist, Fabio Silva also shook the nets again. For the time being, there is no question of a royal couple with Sebastiano Esposito, but the talented duo of mercenaries is very reminiscent of Joshua Zirkzee and Christian Kouamé in the past campaign. One the star, the other a quality worker ant. So no exact copies of Deniz Undav and Dante Vanzeir at Union. Mazzu has to identify his own ideas and principles with those of Kompany – something Frank Vercauteren was unable to do in the Lotto Park at the time.


However, with Benito Raman he does have a similar profile as Vanzeir in the ranks. After the red card from Ishaq Abdulrazak, the ex-Red Devil took up his position against Cercle Brugge on the right, in Estonia he came in on the left wing. Raman previously indicated that he is not interested in another season as a supersub, the status he had under Kompany, and so there is much speculation about his future. Taking into account the departure of Amuzu and Gomez, Mazzu has other plans in mind, although Raman has so far been unable to convince in his new position. Wait and see if there is a sequel to that experiment. The flush on the sides, where Michael Murillo – suspended against Seraing just like Ishaq – played against Paide for the first time this season, looks extremely thin.

Moreover, Murillo, Gomez and Amuzu are ready to leave. As in the rear, fresh blood is more than welcome. Also for Ait El Hadj, who eagerly tried to seize his chance, it was also his first minutes for Mazzu on Thursday. He also brought Marco Kana, gradually fully fit, and Mario Stroeykens between the lines for the first time. Recently their trainer told that the youngsters of Neerpede had to be prepared to occasionally join the B-team. Something that not only the fans, but perhaps also themselves do not quite like. Kana and Stroeykens are already aiming higher, as the latter once again understood during his contract extension. They expect to be involved more often in the future. Curious whether Mazzu, purely focused on results, really has an eye for their further development.


In the case of Ait El Hadj, his match in Estonia was to no avail: just like Nilson Angulo, he was passed for the move to Liège. A relief for Kristoffer Olsson, who is part of the selection. However, the 27-year-old Swede seems to really have to worry. After all, he is seemingly completely at the bottom of the pecking order in midfield. On Thursday, Olsson again watched for 90 minutes from the dug-out, after he was also glued to the bench against Cercle Brugge last weekend. Only on the first match day against KV Oostende was the 37-time international allowed to participate for another fifteen minutes. In that he was even good for an assist, even his first in RSCA salary. Even though Silva did most of the work herself.

Since then, in addition to Trebel and Ashimeru, both of whom are both erratic and injury prone and partly because of that not the most reliable duo, Arnstad, Ait El Hadj and Kana have also been preferred over Olsson. The departure of main competitor Josh Cullen therefore did not help, on the contrary: Mazzu decided to look elsewhere. The purchase of four million, previously pushed aside by Kompany, has been relegated to extra in a year’s time. A supporting role that is not in line with his heavy contract until mid-2025. An early exit therefore seems negotiable for Verbeke’s most expensive acquisition since his entry into the Lotto Park, which, like Mustapha Bundu and in a sense Raman, for example, does not live up to the high expectations. could redeem. Who knows, maybe Olssen will take action against Seraing, but the CEO will undoubtedly keep his ears open for interesting offers.


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