Moussa Dembélé has been a revelation at Tottenham since his £15 million move from Fulham at the start of the season. He effortlessly links defence with attack and is one of the first names on AVB’s team sheet at Tottenham. But just how important is Moussa to The Lilywhites?
Losing Luka Modric to Real Madrid in the summer was a huge blow for Spurs, and although they were well compensated to the tune of £33 million, they desperately needed to fill the creativity void left by the Croatian playmaker.
Tottenham turned their attention to Craven Cottage and Fulham’s star midfielder Moussa Dembélé. The Belgian International was reportedly considered as a serious option for Real Madrid as their move for Modric was stalling; and so he was a player in-demand. Fulham Manager Martin Jol has even described Dembele as:
… probably the best player on the ball I’ve ever seen”
Despite only netting 5 goals in his Fulham career, he formed a lethal partnership with the Fulham attack and especially Clint Dempsey who scored 23 goals for the Cottagers last season. So, Spurs stumped up the £15 million for Dembélé and it is a decision that they are not regretting.
He sparkled on his debut scoring against Norwich City, and despite not scoring since then he has gone onto make 14 appearances for the first team so far and the statistics curiously show that Spurs are more likely to win with him in the team.
In Tottenham’s first 22 games this season, Dembélé played 11 times and missed the other 11. In the games he featured Spurs won 64% of the matches, that win ratio falls dramatically to 27% when he is absent. The stats also show that Tottenham are more likely to concede when Dembélé is not on the pitch. Of the 11 games he missed, Spurs conceded 20 goals.
In contrast, when he has played Spurs conceded only 8 goals, highlighting his qualities at both ends of the pitch. However, the most telling stat was that Spurs did not lose a single game when Dembélé had played during the first 22 games.
Although the player himself dismisses suggestions that he is a natural successor to Modric, Sours will be delighted that they managed to replace such a vital component of their midfield with another supremely gifted footballer. In terms of Spurs top four hopes, Dembélé staying injury-free will be crucial if they are to achieve their aims.
We are perhaps seeing the first glimpses of a player that might truly shape one of Tottenham’s now (in)famous new dawns.