I’ve been looking at the transfers intensely since the 4th of June basically, well, even before then, and Antwerp have been so sterile regarding fresh faces within the squad that it’s worrying. Promoted as Champions of the B division, you’d think they’d sign some players, loan or permanent, to give them the best chance of survival. It’s good of László Bölöni to keep the entire squad together and maybe give them their best shot of survival as a reward, but I’m not confident that’ll work.
Personally, I do think Mouscron may struggle along with others, and that includes Antwerp. Two weeks til the big kick off and it is champions Vs champions for the curtain raiser at the Bosuilstadion which will surely be a packed house, but Anderlecht’s recruitment has been outstanding. Other than their poor mini tour of Austria which wasn’t the best, the Brussels side have signed arguably the best holding midfielder in the league, they have the 2 top scorers in the league along with keeping others who had won them the league last season.
If that is to end badly, which is a big possibility, Antwerp have what could be the toughest start in the league! With other clubs signing much needed reinforcements around them, Beveren away could be their first ‘breather’ in terms of an even match on paper, and that isn’t until the end of September. Maybe I’m being harsh. Are the fans feeling the same? I’m unsure. Just, as a fan of my club, if I felt you’d need players to add depth, quality, replace then I’d be concerned and if I were a newly promoted side, the excitement of a big signing that may give you hope is a big thing!
The other reason why I may come across as harsh is because they’re not the only team to be a bit slow off the mark in the transfer window. Beveren themselves haven’t hit the ground running and even bigger clubs such as Genk and Gent haven’t lifted any trees. But the latter two look in good condition anyway, with the odd signing nearer the end of august. But again, can Antwerp risk a poor start with their opening matches against Anderlecht, Gent, Genk, Mechelen and Oostende. Home form is always important, along with a commited and hostile environment inside the ground, but with teams taking points off of the Great Old could prove costly when it comes to March.
Hopefully I’m wrong. I mean that. I hate relegation. Relegation has to happen and tends to be more exciting as humans, players and clubs scrap in times of need. It’s a fact. But the cruelty of relegation in a hard long slog of a season can be too much to bare. The long wait for Antwerp to make the step up may last a long time in division A. But then again, it may be as brief as just a season…