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Why Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea should go extra mile for Anderlecht

When David Gill meets up with Ron Gourlay and Tom Glick at the next Premier League round table, the three chief executives should put their heads together towards doing what they can for Anderlecht.

Last week at Chelsea, Gourlay oversaw their swoop for the Musonda brothers, Tika (18), Lamisha (20) and 15 year-old pearl Charly Jr. The triple deal came barely weeks after Glick's Manchester City had snapped up Musonda's former youth teammate Mathais Bossaerts, while earlier last season Manchester United chief Gill negotiated a deal with Anderlecht for Adnan Januzaj.

Five youngsters taken from Anderlecht's academy, which is not to mention Chelsea's signing of Romelu Lukaku, still only 20, last summer. And it doesn't stop there. United still have their eyes on teenage midfielder David Henen, while Romelu's brother, Jordan, has been linked with QPR and Arsenal just this week.

Charly Musonda's move to Chelsea has cut deep for Anderlecht fans, who bombarded the message boards and social media protesting the 15 year-old's departure.

But unlike the howls of outrage from Dutch and French clubs when one of their talented youngsters is coaxed away to England, Anderlecht general manager Herman Van Holsbeeck is yet to kick up a fuss.

No matter how it looks seeing so many talented kids ripped away from one club, it does appear Chelsea, City and United are all doing the right thing by Anderlecht and paying decent money for these youngsters. Certainly, the £18 million Chelsea parted with for Lukaku appears good business and Van Holsbeeck was quick to acknowledge how satisfied they were with negotiations over the Musonda brothers' sale last week.

"We regret the departure of the three Musonda brothers, but welcome the financial effort Chelsea made for them," he said.

But there are some murmurings within the Anderlecht academy that more players - like Henen - could also be on their way.

"There's sure to be more departures," conceded one member of staff.

Jean Kindermans, who oversees Anderlecht's academy, was more blunt: "I'm very disappointed that Charly Jr and his brothers are leaving us after all we've done for him and his family. This tendency to lose players is increasing in recent years."

When you consider the hype around Henen and Dennis Praet, whose been likened to Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, by the start of next season, Anderlecht could have lost an entire XI from their youth team to English clubs.

As much as the free market should dictate these situations, Anderlecht do deserve greater material recognition for their contribution to the Premier League. Those clubs involved should be climbing over eachother to offer any assistance Van Holsbeeck may feel is required.

Tapping into the global scouting networks of United, City and Chelsea would be a good start. A coaching exchange, sending senior players on-loan could be welcomed, as would glamour friendlies to boost Van Holsbeeck's offseason revenue planning.

The lack of official protest from Anderlecht does suggest the board is satisfied with the present situation. But United, City and Chelsea should go the extra mile - and be seen doing so - for the good of the game in Belgium and the Premier League's reputation with local fans.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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