Kyle Ebecillio may have left his homeland too early but since he returned, he has began to show promise of the player he could be as he was highly rated in the Varkenoord academy. So much so that he has piqued the interest of a few English clubs.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
  • Follow Chaka on Twitter

ebeciFC Twente have over-extended themselves financially with the Champions League money from the 2009/10 season when they won the Eredivise. Now, the club from Enschede have to integrate a more organic and self-sustainable financial model in order to avoid the punishments and disappointments of an unspectacular 2014/15. These financial difficulties have seen most of their best players shifted into the shop window in order for a quick source of revenue and with interest rising in young midfielder, Kyle Ebecillio, he could certainly be on his way out.

The 21 year-old orginally spent his early years at Feyenoord’s much-lauded Varkenoord youth academy before being snapped up by Arsenal at the age of 16. In Rotterdam, he became part of a highly-regarded golden generation of boys born in 1994 which included the likes of Nathan Ake (who moved to Chelsea), Karim Rekik (who moved to Manchester City before a two-year loan stint at PSV earned him a permanent deal at Marseille) among other promising players. His move to Arsenal signified an ongoing trend of fiscally stronger European clubs buying young Dutch talent at an age many perceive as way too young.

Ebecillio joined FC Twente after seeing slim chances of making the Arsenal first team in order to attain regular football. The transfer has certainly been quite a coup for FC Twente compared to some of their other recruitments. Ebecillio has a large frame which is imposing but shouldn’t be seen as an archetypal midfied hard-man. Ebecillio’s game presents more poise and nuance as his technical ability on the ball mixed with an an adequate sense of danger makes him a fine box to box midfielder.

He played primarily in a midfield with new FC Twente captain Hakim Ziyech and South African midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo in a 4-3-3 last season. Ziyech was the schemer and conductor of attacking plays while Mokotjo was the defensive hardman who also possessed the athletism and ability to make driving runs forward and build up plays from deep while Ebecillio was the supporting box to box midfielder.

FC Twente manager Alfred Schreuder played a possession based 4-3-3 system in which build-up was laboured in frequent passing triangles. Ebecillio played in a position where he developed an innate sense of awareness of where to receive the ball and played a great hand in Twente’s build up play. He could play a simple one-touch pass into teammates or make driving runs forward to join in on Twente’s attacking play. The creative and goalscoring responsibilities were shared by Hakim Ziyech, Luc Castaignos, Youness Mokhtar and Jesus Corona as Ebecillio’s main responsibility was feeding them the ball as Twente’s hub of buildup play.

Ebecillio maintained a strong 86% pass succession rate but his talents may be undermined by a general dip in form after mid-season of most of FC Twente’s players and a 9 point penalty which ultimately meant Twente finished an uninspiring tenth after a relatively good start to their season. Ebecillio’s biggest strength can also be construed as his biggest weakness as his ‘gentle-giant’ nature limits him as a midfielder.

He only won 32% of his challenges which is low considering he shared his defensive duties with Mokotjo who was the grittier one of the two. He also won a surprisingly low amount of aerial challenges for someone of his size and physique as he will need to be more inclined to put his foot in in order to become an all-action Premier League midfielder.

It seems Queens Park Rangers are interested in him as they are on the path to rejeuvination since being relegated, already securing FC Groningen creative hub Tjaronn Chery. It is speculated that they are looking at Ebecillio as a a replacement for Leroy Fer (another Varkenoord youth product) as this would be the second time that Ebecillio has replaced Fer as he replaced him at Twente. There are also 5 unamed Premier League clubs interested in the midfielder as the transfer window rumbles on.

If Twente lost Ebecillio, they would already have a suitable replacements in Felipe Gutierrez and Jelle Van Der Heyden, who was a mainstay with the senior squad in pre-season after debuting against PSV last season. The youngster admitted to the FC Twente website during pre-season that he sees himself as a number 6 while Schrueder mainly deployed him as a number 8 but in Twente’s Eredivisie opener against FC Groningen, he played as an right attacking midfielder. In that position he seemed to provide an option for passes and support for 18 year-old fullback Hidde ter Avest. Van Der Heyden impressed as he made 4 tackles, 2 clearances and 2 interceptions during the game while maintaining a pass succession rate of 81%.This could mean greater liberation for Mokotjo if Van Der Heyden was to fill in for Mokotjo.

FC Twente have seen players like Castaignos ,Bjelland and Cuco Martina leave among others as they have been replaced by free transfers and loans as the club implement a fiscally tight structure. One wouldn’t expect the same club that sold Nacer Chadli and Dusan Tadic for bounties to be experiencing financial difficulties but due to mis-management they are. Ebecillio could be the next player out the door as interest in him seems to be increasing week by week, although another full season in the Eredivisie in Enschede could be advantageous for the youngster.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)