Scouting Report : Arthur Vermeeren
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Many top clubs have focused their radar on a 2005 class wonderkid who has recently made huge and fast strides in his career. Key player and brain of last season´s Antwerp surprising run to win the Jupiler Pro League, Arthur Vermeeren has been one of the sensations of the start of the current season, leaving great performances even in the biggest stages such as Champions League draws.

Vermeeren, born 07/02/2005 is an Antwerp academy product who has fastly burned stages to prematurely burst into the first team. Appearing on stage on the junior team for Antwerp in 2018, followed a natural but fast path on the U18, U21 and second squad of the Belgian team, before joining the first squad in the 2022/23 season. Same happened on the national team, being the leather of the U17, U18, U19 and U21 squads before recently making his senior national team debut. 

The Belgian youngster possesses a quite complete midfielder profile, being a mix between ball-winning and ball playing midfielder. In that sense, he mainly starts as central midfielder, being able to also perform as holding midfielder, as he possesses good defensive characteristics. Vermeeren stands out for his great understanding of the game and football IQ for his young age, an elevated work rate and great ball dominance. 

Playing as 5, 6 or 8 the impact he has on his squad is huge, showing great maturity for his young age. His spatial awareness and positioning is outrageous. In the build up phase he possesses great game lecture to provide progressive passing lines avoiding the rival´s defensive system, and has composure to retain the ball when feeling under pressure, looking for the best alternative. His vision is good, and does not hesitate to filter progressive passes to the second line between lines placed teammates, activating them with space around them, giving them a clear advantage. He possesses great passing, with a good success ratio in any range, predominantly playing short-medium range passes. In attack plays, when playing as holding midfielder he always offers himself to recycle posesion and play easily, whereas while playing on a more attacking role he gets good spots between the lines and has creativity and imagination to filter impossible last passes to the penalty area. His second line arrivals to the penalty area are also a remarkable aspect of his game, spontaneously attacking space between full backs and central defenders to the back of the defense, where he can provide killer passes. Being an associative player profile and who wants to control the tempo of the match, Vermeeren is not the classical quality midfielder who shows off eccentric tricks and dribbles, but if the situation requires so, he is technically gifted to exit successfully from different scenarios. Good use of his body, close ball control, fast footwork and quick thinking/decision making allow him to play in tight spaces and maintain possession or get advantages for his team. 

Despite having good abilities on the ball, he becomes amazingly determinant in the defensive phase, where his commitment, combativity and determination are admirable. He activates fastly after losing the ball, liking to press forward and harass rivals in dangerous positions, a great asset for a forward high pressionant team. He rarely loses position, being a great player to play as the closing man, and has the ability to cover a lot of ground. He is clever and reliable in attack-defense transitions, having great recovery rate and sense of anticipation, with an amazing ability to go strong for clear tackling. He also knows when to do smart “tactical fouls”. Despite not being the most strong and physical player, he feels comfortable in contact situations, loving to get into challenges, winning a great amount of death balls and duels, playing an important role of recovering the ball for Antwerp in defensive situations, and being a clear game destroyer. 

There are some areas where Vermeeren could improve to optimize his midfielder profile. While playing in advanced positions, his effectiveness towards goal can be bigger. He is not usually a real menace when going for goal, but shows great ability to strike the ball, so working on his finishing in match situations could make him more prolific towards goal. His ball dominance is great, and has good ball conduction, but he does not show it off so often. His team could benefit from his powerful carries breaking lines and add the possibility to make by his participation more defense-attack transitions. Showing quite good physicality and jumping, he could improve his aerial ball ratio, which would help him when facing rivals who attract forward in order to later play by long throws as their build up. 

Vermeeren has a bright future in front of him, being nowadays a great player with huge room for improvement. Many top clubs are monitoring his movements, as he seems to be ready for the biggest stages, being a player who would give a lot to talk about in the near future. 

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