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Meet the Anderlecht youngster Spurs hope will be their Januzaj

| 04.03.2014

Although Manchester United aren’t having the happiest of seasons, the emergence of Adnan Januzaj has been a small ray of light during David Moyes’ first term in charge. Now, other clubs’ desperation to find themselves little-known gems has gone through the roof.

That means Anderlecht, the club Januzaj left to join United in 2011, will have scouts lining the bleachers every time their youth teams take to the field and Spurs clearly think they’ve unearthed something special.

Spurs’ closest focus will be on their upcoming London derby with Chelsea, which they are 9/2 to win, but that hasn’t stopped them planning for the long term too.

16-year-old midfielder Ismail Azzaoui has caught the eye of the north London club’s talent spotters, boosting their hope of adding to their already overflowing Belgian contingent by rejecting a contract offer to sign professionally with the Purple and White.

At such a young age, the decision of where Azzaoui plays his football is entirely the player’s and his family’s and Anderlecht’s Head of Youth Development has resigned himself to the fact that the lure of Premier League lights could be too strong.

Jean Kindermans said: “We’ve heard Spurs are interested in Azzaoui and it’s the player’s right to make a choice. We regret he’s going to be leaving us.”

Those quotes certainly indicate that the youngster has made up his mind, but nothing official has come from the Lilywhites.

Having also reeled off Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany from their production line, it’s clear the two-time defending Belgian champions are a source worth tapping for youth stocks.

Azzaoui recently played, and scored, against England’s U16 side and should certainly eye a future central midfield partnership with Spurs’ other burgeoning young talent, Nabil Bentaleb.

Should Tim Sherwood remain in charge at White Hart Lane beyond this season then his unflinching eagerness to give youth a chance could see Azzaoui afforded a first team opportunity sooner rather than later.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.