Lennart Mertens returns to SK Deinze with immediate effect: “I’m happy to be back on the old nest”

Football Challenger Pro League SK Deinze

Mertens was the top scorer of the Tigers for six seasons, in which he scored 83 goals: “I already received a lot of positive reactions from supporters of Deinze.” — © Belgian


SK Deinze finally got his deep striker bite that it absolutely needed to try and live up to his ambition. Lennart Mertens returns to the Dakota Arena with immediate effect. This 30-year-old deep striker signed a new contract with SK Deinze until the end of June 2026.

Johan Polet

Mertens was the Tigers’ leading scorer for six seasons, scoring 83 goals. He left for Club NXT last summer, but is now returning after six months. He came into action eleven times for the blue-black, in which he scored five goals and two assists. Mertens is not entitled to play for next Sunday’s home game against leader Beerschot, because it is a postponed match from December 2022. Mertens was not the only strongman from the central axis of the team to leave last season. Viktor Boone (Union), Youssef Challouk (KV Kortrijk and now at RWDM) and goalkeeper Tom Vandenberghe (KV Kortrijk) also went to other places.

“SK Deinze was taken over by new owners in February 2022,” Mertens begins his argument. “Everything was renewed. Moreover, I had little faith in the new Japanese coach Takahisa Shiraishi. I thought it was better to leave than to stay frustrated at SK Deinze. I left for Club NXT with great enthusiasm. It was instructive to train with the first blue-black team. I learned a lot, but I didn’t feel 100 percent good in my own skin. I had to take many rules into account. Moreover, everything is controlled from above. I spent a lot of time on the couch in the last two months, but I could live with that reality. Deinze already sounded out in November. There was also interest from several other Challenger Pro League clubs and a foreign club during the winter break. In the end I chose the club that I know very well and where I feel at home. I have already received many positive reactions from supporters of Deinze. This gives me great pleasure.”

Certainty at Deinze

“The new coach Marc Grosjean insisted very strongly on my arrival during the talks. It is crucial for a player that the coach believes in him. I have known Grosjean for many years as a coach of our opponents. He is a jovial man who knows Belgian football like the back of his hand. He communicates clearly. The players know very well what he expects of them. Its great asset is clarity. Moreover, I was able to sign a long-term contract with Deinze until my 34th birthday, which gives me certainty about my sporting future.”

“I hope that SK Deinze still finishes in the top six of the regular season. I suspect that this will require at least eleven out of fifteen points in the five remaining games. A difficult, but not unattainable goal. Club NXT will be visiting on Friday 27 January. This is not just a special match for me, because it concerns my ex-team. It is also a direct opponent for the top six.”

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