Arthur Vermeeren became an integral figure at the heart of midfield as Antwerp won the Belgian Pro League for the first time in 66 years.
Arthur Vermeeren was one of the prominent players for Royal Antwerp as they secured a famous victory over Barcelona in the Champions League last round of matches in the group stage.
The 18-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a rapid rise over the past 12 months. He featured regularly as Antwerp became Belgian champions last season, for the first time since 1957.
Despite his tender years, Vermeeren is already a senior Belgium international and destined for the very top.
In this article, FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about Arthur Vermeeren.
Arthur Vermeeren was born on the 7th of February, 2005, in Lier, Belgium.
He began his career with KV Mechelen’s youth side, and initially played as a centre-back.
Thereafter, he moved down a division to struggling Royal Antwerp, where he evolved into a midfielder.
After impressing at youth level, Vermeeren made his senior professional debut for Antwerp as a second half substitute in the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League in a 2-0 home win against Lillestrøm in August 2022.
He was just 17 years old at the time, but has never looked since, firmly establishing himself in the first eleven .
In April 2023, Vermeeren started in the 2023 Belgian Cup final as Antwerp defeated his former club, KV Mechelen, 2-0.
Furthermore, he scored his first goal for Antwerp in a 3-2 win over Club Brugge during the Champions’ Play-off on the 14th of May.
He became an integral figure at the heart of midfield as Antwerp won the Belgian Pro League for the first time in 66 years. They also won the Belgian Cup to complete an historic league and cup double.
Vermeeren’s action-packed displays saw him crowned the league’s Young Player of the Year.
Arthur Vermeeren this season
The youngster started the 2023/24 season from where he stopped last term, with eye-catching displays.
In July, he started in the Belgian Super Cup as Antwerp defeated Mechelen on penalty kicks.
On the 19th of September, Vermeeren made his UEFA Champions League debut in a 5-0 defeat against Barcelona.
In the return leg against the same opponent in December, he scored his first Champions League goal in a thrilling 3-2 victory. Arthur capitalised on an Oriol Romeu error to open the scoring within two minutes, before Ferran Torres equalised for Barca before half-time.
Vincent Janssen netted in the 56th minute after another Romeu error, before Marc Guiu came off the bench to equalise in injury time.
Astonishingly, another prodigy George Ilenikhena scored at the other end to seal all three points for Royal Antwerp.
So far this season, Vermeeren has played 29 matches, scored 2 goals and provided 5 assists across all competitions.
Arthur Vermeeren has represented Belgium across various youth grades, from U-17 to U-21 level.
On the 13th of October 2023, the 18-year-old made his debut for the senior Belgium national team. He came off the bench in the 87th minute in a 3-2 win over Austria during the Euro 2024 qualifying.
Arthur Vermeeren’s style of play
Arthur Vermeeren stands at 5 ft 11 inches. Although just 18, his footballing IQ and overall composure on the ball is far beyond his age.
He is a technically gifted midfielder who can see things that most youngsters cannot. His passing ability is equally very impressive.
Moreso, he loves to roam around the half-spaces and create chances for more advanced players, particularly from a deeper position where he plays line-breaking passes to break through the opponent’s defensive structure and progress the build-up play.
As a defensive midfielder, Vermeeren is more than just a six who sits deep and breaks up play. He is integral to the build-up play of his side and knows when to occupy which spaces and when to support the attack.
His link-up play and ability to get the ball forward make him a quite complete player for his age.
Furthermore, he is adept at progressing the ball between the lines and can be quite creative when given the chance to roam forward. In fact, he has already registered two assists in his first two UEFA Champions League appearances, setting up two goals against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month.
What next for Arthur Vermeeren?
Deep lying playmakers have been the most sought after profiles in the market recently. Another youngster making waves in that position is Man Utd’s Kobbie Mainoo.
Arthur Vermeeren’s impressive performances have made Europe’s biggest clubs sit up and take notice.
Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have all reportedly been in contact for the midfielder, and a move as early as January might be on the cards.
But making a big move too early can hamper his development.
Moreover, Antwerp are not under pressure to sell either, and know that they have an asset that will continue to grow in value.
Spending another season in Belgium might just be the best decision for all.