Marbella. Belgium and its U17 national team meet Japan for a double friendly confrontation. While he is not included in the initial selection, Arthur Theate takes advantage of an opportunity to slip into the base 11. As the temperature rises at a frantic pace and the match is in full swing, a man by the sweet name of Patrick De Vlamynck is in the stands: “That day, when I saw him in the position of central defender. I said to myself: ‘This is where he will make his career!’ I already knew Arthur because he played in the same category as one of my players at the time. At Standard de Liège, he juggled between the U16 and U17 category as a midfielder, but it was not his best place.”
After seeing the Liégeois family – “the feeling went right away” -, Patrick De Vlamynck becomes his agent. It must be said that fate has been teasing with the Red Devil. After passing through the KRC Genk training center in Belgium, he returned to Standard de Liège in 2015 but left two seasons later for the same Limburg club.
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Finally, he collapsed and once again found Standard de Liège, which attracted him for the second time in 2018. No doubt the Liège club would have needed a third “boomerang” effect because Arthur Theate is getting kindly dismissed in April 2020 by the management of reedsthe latter not believing at the time to see in him the sufficient potential to become a professional one day… Visionary.
Without solutions before the click
In the spring of 2020, nobody wants Arthur Theate. Some acquaintances of the player seek solutions for him and Arthur knocks on all doors. Son agent too. In vain… Until that day when Gauthier Ganaye, the president of KV Ostende “looking for Belgian and agrees to welcome the one who for the moment is presented as a left side defender.
On trial for 10 days, this is the amount of time that the resident of Mélen will have had to prove his worth in the eyes of Alexandre Blessin, his new coach: “I also present him as a left-handed central defender capable of playing left back. Ostend takes Arthur Theate to play at the left-back position but it is, at that moment, sure in everyone’s head that we will arrive at the left-back position. A few days after his arrival, Ostend recruits another left side. With Arthur, we say to ourselves ‘that’s it, it’s dead'”.
But in lack of defenders, the German coach positions him on the left of a defense at 3 during a friendly match. Arthur took his chance and also scored a few goals in warm-up matches… Enough to allow the club near the North Sea to offer him a minimal professional contract. Arthur goes on an adventure and – strong from his season with KV Ostend – becomes one of the defenders in addition to the sides of the Belgian championship. It is golden and already acquired that it will not last long…
Well beyond his qualities as a defender, his personality is intriguing: “He has a certain outspokenness. When he has something to say, he will not take tweezers to get his message across but it is never negative. Arthur wants to move on. If he says things, it is with the objective of evolving but also of making them evaluate the things and the people around him”. In all situations, Arthur Theate manages to ignore the context. When he is on the pitch, he does not feel the pressure, it even serves as a driving force, it galvanizes him: “He doesn’t care who he plays against!” We have confirmed agent Patrick De Vlamynck’s son. Arthur advances like a ram and this mentality sprinkled with a (greedy…) zest of excitement will transform him into a lion when he arrives in Bologna.
Arthur Theate is committed to Rennes
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“Il Leone” in Bologna
It was in Serie A that Arthur Theate learned to become a man as a footballer. In Italy, he learns to manage his hyperactive side. To live alone. Without his family, this cocoon from which the Liègeois has never been removed until now. Far from his sister too, with whom he has a unique relationship. Solitude will help him to build himself, to remain anchored in his realities. The first clashes with his trainer Siniša Mihajlović also gave him control over his instinctive, sometimes impulsive nature. His season under the aegis of the Serbian coach will have allowed him to channel his boundless energy: a key stage in his development and one of the main areas for improvement for the Belgian international since his arrival in the Boot.
Arthur Theate likes to make an impression… While his first in the Bolognese blue and red jersey ended in a six-goal defeat at a Giuseppe-Meazza stadium, the Belgian defender found the opportunity to score a goal at the very end of the match, and this only a few minutes after his entry into play. A key match to understand his rise. For the trouble, two equally decisive recitals will also follow, including one at Juventus Stadium on April 16, 2022 and the other against Inter Milan at the Renato-Dall’Ara Stadium. On Wednesday April 27, 2022, with his new Belgian international status, Arthur Theate enters a new dimension and becomes the defensive leader of the Rossoblù.
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“In June, I learned that Rennes were looking for a left-footed central defender. On presented it. Florian Maurice asked for an appointment with me. He confirmed his interest and the offers followed. Saturday July 23, we came to an agreement with Rennes on the terms of the contract.. It was then that the club chained offers to convince the Italian club. First, 17 million euros and 2 bonuses on Sunday. Then, a second of 18 million euros with 2 million bonuses the next day at midnight before seeing the transaction slowed down. “That’s when I decided to get on the plane and go to Bologna,” entrusts us with his agent Patrick De Vlamynck.
A judicious decision which made it possible to find the final agreement on the evening of July 26 in the amount of 19 million euros plus three in bonuses to thus offer Arthur Theate, the most expensive central defender sesame in the history of the Belgian soccer.
Once the agreement has been reached, Arthur Theate speaks with the Stade Rennais coach. Impatient with the idea of welcoming him, ‘Pep’ Genesio warns the Belgian central defender of his desire to install a flat defensive quartet. A new reality to which the Liège player must get used to, he who generally played in a system with three defenders. Son agent confirms it: “If they‘adapts… In a 4-man defence, he will be even stronger when he finds the 3-man defense. His profile suits the system: He can be both very tough in duels when you have to go out on the man, but he has also the explosiveness to catch up with his direct opponent with his acceleration qualities.”
In two years, the Belgian footballer will have experienced the roller coaster. A dizzying ascent that raises the question of its limits. Has he fixed it? “We never had any pre-established goals. What he has done, few players are capable of. I think he can still go further,” we whisper to his adviser, Patrick De Vlamynck, with whom Arthur also maintains a passion for real estate investment. With Il Leone, Stade Rennais has a winner with a steely mentality.
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