Belgian ace Vossen is perfect fit for Clarets

Jelle Vossen (9) of KRC Genk scores past goalkeeper Petr Cech of Chelsea during their Champions League Group E soccer match at the Cristal Arena in Genk November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge (BELGIUM - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Jelle Vossen (9) of KRC Genk scores past goalkeeper Petr Cech of Chelsea during their Champions League Group E soccer match at the Cristal Arena in Genk November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge (BELGIUM - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
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Kjell Doms, the RC Genk reporter for leading Belgian newspaper HLN, believes new signing Jelle Vossen will be a good fit for Burnley.

The 26-year-old put pen to paper on a three-year deal after the Clarets agreed a €3.5m fee with Genk on Saturday.

Vossen linked up with his new teammates at their training camp in Évian-les-Bains in France, and is in line to feature in tonight’s first pre-season friendly over the Swiss border in Geneva against Etoile Carouge.

The 5ft 11ins forward netted nine goals in 40 appearances on loan at Championship play-off finalists Middlesbrough last season, often playing off the front or wider in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

But Doms feels Vossen will be more suited to Burnley’s formation, which is more of a 4-4-2.

He was more prolific in Belgium with Genk, particularly between 2010 and 2013, when he scored 76 in 138 appearances – including a goal against Chelsea in a 1-1 Champions League draw in Belgium in November 2011.

That was one of 18 strikes in 33 European ties for Genk.

He netted 19 in 53 in 2013-14 – still a very passable strike rate, but not enough to earn a place in the hugely-talented Belgium World Cup squad in Brazil.

Vossen, however, did attract the attention of Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough, where he won over the Boro fans, without convincing the management to take up an option to complete a permanent move to the Riverside.

Boro assistant boss Steve Agnew said: “Jelle is as good a finisher as I’ve worked with.

“He’s very accurate in front of goal, especially from the edge of the box. He has that knack of placing the ball just inside the post.

“I think he’ll always score goals, whatever level he’s playing at.”

HLN reporter Doms has seen Vossen at close quarters for a number of years, and gave Clarets fans a detailed insight into what they can expect from their new man.

He said: “Jelle was always captain at Genk, he is a real team player, he plays with the right spirit, and even if he is not in the game, he will give 200% to help the team.

“He is a real worker, but his main quality is inside the box – a typical, vintage Vossen goal would be from a cross, and then a first-time finish, the perfect strike.

“He is a killer.”

Vossen is under 6ft, but has good aerial ability: “He scored a lot of goals for Genk, 111 in total, and although he is not that big, he is a good header of the ball as well.

“He gets in front of defenders at the right moment – his positional play in the box is exceptional.

“He has the ability to lose defenders in the area, then he is there and the ball is in the back of the net.”

Vossen is being seen as a replacement for Danny Ings, after his move to Liverpool, but while Doms has not seen enough of Ings to draw a comparison, he feels the Belgian fits Sean Dyche’s framework: “Pace is not his main quality, but he is very efficient for a team playing attacking football, dominating in the other team’s half.

“He isn’t a counter attack-style player, but very good in a dominant team.

“He is best in a 4-4-2 system than a 4-3-3, if he is alone up front, it becomes difficult for him, but if he has support from a striker, he can be very good.”

Dyche’s preference for two, and even three, strikers on the pitch, mean Vossen will certainly have that support – maybe Vings will become Vokessen!

Vossen will be the first Belgian to play for the Clarets, and arrives boasting 12 caps for his country, won between 2009-13, scoring twice, against Austria and Azerbaijan in Euro 2012 qualifying.

Doms feels his chances of an international recall may be restricted: “I think with the quality we have up front – Benteke, Lukaku, Mirallas, Origi are all Premier League players – it will be difficult for him.

“He was hoping to be at the World Cup last year, but his season with Genk was not enough to make it.

“He’s just below those guys, and playing in the Championship is maybe not the best step in terms of the national squad.

“When Benteke, Lukaku and Origi were younger, or not as good as they are now, he was the main striker, and he never disappointed for the national team.

“When he played, he scored.”