At the start, he was just a youngster from Anderlecht with an unpronounceable surname, destined to become nothing more than depth player. Eight months later, Alexis Saelemaekers an important player for Stefano Pioli’s side.
As highlighted by Calciomercato.com, Saelemaekers isn’t exactly the player who shows off on the pitch. However, in eight months he has managed to convince the management and the fans, becoming a protagonist in the team.
The start to his adventure, though, was very tough as he only got 22 minutes of playing time before the lockdown. Once the season restarted the situation changed completely, as he played six games from start and also made several appearances off the bench.
As an attacking winger (right or left), rather than as a full-back, Saelemaekers convinced everyone with his dedication, work-rate and spirit to always do better. At the start of July, despite the lockdown, Milan redeemed the Belgian for €3.5m (€7m in total).
An absolutely reasonable figure for a functional player, who fits the project of Elliott Management perfectly. In other words, the faith was already there and the 21-year-old has proved them right thus far.
Saelemaekers may not be the player who sells a lot of shirts, but with him on the pitch, the Rossoneri have a lot more balance. They can count on a hard-working player that never gives up, with plenty of room for improvement.
The winger has already played 6 games this season, 3 in the Europa League and 3 in the league, five of these as a starter, for a total of 456 minutes. Pioli focuses on him and so does Roberto Martinez, the manager of Belgium.
Instead of the U21 side, Saelemaekers was called up to the first team and it remains to be seen if he will feature in any of the games against Ivory Coast, England and Iceland. Not bad, for a player who eight months ago was ruled out quickly.