New Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany has turned to the Democratic Republic of Congo for reinforcements as he tries to make the Brussels giants a force in Belgian football again.
Anderlecht, who finished a distant fourth in the league last season and missed out on European club competition, are to sign Meschak Elia and Arsene Zola from TP Mazembe.
The pair were regulars for the Lubumbashi-based club, with Elia also competing for DR Congo at the Africa Cup of Nations.
TP Mazembe have confirmed the sale – without offering any details of the deal – but Anderlecht not yet announced anything, preferring on Thursday to focus on the five-year deal handed to Dutch midfielder Michel Vlap from SC Heerenveen.
22-year-old Elia, who plays on the flank, has previously been to Belgium for trials at Standard Liege and also had unsuccessful tests at Turkish club Bursaspor.
He will go straight from Cairo to Brussels once DR Congo’s campaign at the Cup of Nations is concluded. They are in the last 16, up against Madagascar in Alexandria on Sunday.
Arsene Zola is due in Brussels on Saturday, according to Belgian press reports.
Zola, who usually plays at left-back, was the reason for DR Congo’s disqualification from the Olympic Games qualifiers in April when his date of birth was changed from 1996 to 1997, but he did not suffer any personal sanction.
Zola, whose date of birth is listed as 23 February 1996 on the Mazembe website, made his debut for the club just three years ago and made a big impression with his mature performances in the African Confederation Cup when Mazembe won the title in 2017.
The sale of Elia and Zola is the latest movement of Mazembe players to Belgium.
In January 2017, they sold the trio of Merveille Bokadi, Jonathan Bolingi and Christian Luyinduma to Standard Liege, who then made a tidy profit by selling centre-back Luyinduma to Galatasaray. All three are in DR Congo’s squad at the Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The last players that Anderlecht bought from Mazembe were Patou Kabangu and Bedi Mbenza seven years ago but neither succeeded.
Anderlecht, meanwhile, have let go of the 23-year-old Congolese striker Silvere Ganvoula, who joins VfL Bochum in Germany’s second tier.
He was on loan at Bochum for the second half of last season and now the move has been made permanent.
Anderlecht bought Brazzaville-born Ganvoula from Westerlo two years ago but he failed to make an impression and was also loaned out to KV Mechelen.