Former Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele has explained why he chose to leave the Premier League for China during last month’s transfer window – citing an open mind and “wanting to see something different” as his reasons for moving.
The Belgian international, 31, left the club after six and a half seasons, having made just nine Premier League appearances in the first half of 2018/19.
With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Tottenham officials felt it best to recoup some compensation for the midfielder – selling him for a reported £11m to Guangzhou R&F.
“I wanted to have a different experience in life,” he explained when asked about his reasons for leaving England, as reported by Sky Sports. “I heard already there is good food in Guangzhou. I will try this a lot. I think my family will enjoy it as well here.”
“I feel good – everybody is very welcoming. This is a very important thing if you are new in a club, people try to make you feel very comfortable from the start.
“I think everybody is doing this and it’s a good feeling for me and it will make it easier to adapt and to feel at home as quickly as possible.
“I have a small application on my phone that I look into and try to understand some words. Hopefully in six months I will know some words already. I think I know already some words. There is ‘ni hao’, ‘ni hao’ is okay.
“I like the fact there are a lot of jokes on the pitch but when it has to be serious, they are serious, everyone is serious. Between everything, the exercises, the people, the jokes, it’s what I like as well.”
Dembele has found comfort in his new dressing room since his switch, likening the atmosphere at Guangzhou R&F to that of his former club.
“The jokes and everything is similar to Tottenham. The group atmosphere is very comparable with Tottenham. I like this because in Tottenham it was a good group, everyone was very good together.
“I feel as though here that all the players have a good mentality.”