The love affair is over. Mousa Sidi Yaya Dembélé has, as is changing into the pattern, left the grand outdated English stage and agreed a transfer to the Chinese language Tremendous League. The transfer, although heartbreaking for Tottenham followers, can hardly come as a shock. They knew the top was nigh.
Dembele solely appeared 13 instances in a Spurs shirt this season, and lasted the full 90 minutes in simply three video games. Nonetheless, in contrast to when the massive Belgian is on the ball, his timing is considerably awry on this event.
He has jumped ship proper in the midst of Spurs’ midfield disaster, with Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama all out by harm. In an space the place the staff often excel, they’ve lately been discovered wanting.
In instances like these, Spurs followers have grow to be accustomed to rolling over and reaching out for his or her consolation blanket in Mousa Dembele, who would reassure them that every thing goes to be alright, as he drifts carelessly previous one other Premier League midfield.
Again on the very begin, the Tottenham devoted had been uncertain what precisely their £15m was getting them in Dembele; 5 Premier League targets in two years at Fulham does not scream ‘midfield maestro’.
Lo and behold, the then-25-year-old notched his first Tottenham purpose on his debut towards Norwich, after which the targets turned more durable to come back by. All in all, Dembele scored ten targets and assisted solely 12 extra in his 249 appearances for the membership, however it’s not his sparse purpose scoring tally that Spurs will miss.
Maybe not since David Ginola was dancing his approach across the White Hart Lane pitch have Tottenham employed a participant with such class on the soccer. Autonomous in the way in which he performed the sport, Dembele usually discovered himself in probably the most precarious spots, however he at all times appeared to seek out the simplest route out, which tended to contain him shifting the ball on to his left foot, with the opposition nonetheless unable to anticipate his actions.
I go away Spurs at this time with plenty of love in my coronary heart & reminiscences of incredible instances. Thanks to all my unbelievable teammates, the workers & followers for all of your assist in my time on the membership. To listen to my title sung at WHL & Wembley made me extremely proud. pic.twitter.com/14D4UqUqyB
— Mousa Dembélé (@mousadembele) January 17, 2019
Nevertheless it wasn’t simply his potential to beat a person that obtained followers on the sting of their seats. His defensive instincts and consciousness bailed his facet out of hassle numerous instances, with the Belgian then continuing to shrug off one other participant and kick-start a Spurs assault.
What actually counts are the opinions of those that needed to try to cease him. A few of the greatest names in world soccer have come forth to supply their opinions on the massive Belgian, and their declarations are hardly shocking.
When talking to Man City’s official website, Kevin De Bruyne acknowledged: “For me, in a five-a-side he’s the very best participant on the earth. He’s so robust on the ball, you’ll be able to by no means take the ball off him. Offensively and defensively, (he’s) among the finest.”
In an interview for Spurs’ official website, Dembele’s staff mate and compatriot Jan Vertonghen couldn’t communicate extremely sufficient of the midfielder: “I don’t suppose individuals know the way good Mousa is. You possibly can ask each single participant within the staff and I don’t suppose you’ll be able to describe how good Mousa is.
“He’s a particular participant and I can’t consider anybody else who’s a bit like him. For me, he’s up there with the very best two or three midfielders within the league.”
Lastly, in 2016, Tottenham supervisor Mauricio Pochettino spoke of how a lot Dembele was missed after his facet drew 1-1 to Liverpool within the Belgian’s absence.
“He’s a participant who I’ve advised you a lot instances is, for me, one of many geniuses that I’ve met in soccer,” Pochettino stated, by way of Football London. “With out Mousa Dembele, we don’t exist. Tottenham doesn’t exist.”
The Argentinian tactician went on to reassure the followers that he was joking, however perhaps there was some component of fact in his witticism. For the meantime, Tottenham’s midfield arguably has seized to exist, with Pochettino now having to dig a bit of deeper within the squad to seek out short-term replacements for the likes of Dembele.
However how do you change a participant like Dembele? Only a few in world soccer can carry the ball with such refinement and charm after which flip round and bully the opposition off of the ball on the different finish. Suppose again upon the instances when his supreme performances have given Spurs hope, and it’s laborious to look any additional than final yr’s sport in Turin, when Dembele made a world-class Juventus midfield seem like faculty boys, having fun with 10.2% of the sport’s possession.
Nonetheless Pochettino decides to proceed when it comes to changing the Belgian, there are only a few doubts that the Premier League and Tottenham have misplaced one of many best gamers to breach these shores in current reminiscence, and whoever succeeds him of their midfield could have very giant boots, and a big shirt, to fill.