Opinion: Spurs should sign Monaco’s Youssef Ait Bennasser as Mousa Dembele replacement

Following reports from Italian publication Corriere di Torino that Serie A champions Juventus may pursue a January move for Spurs’ Mousa Dembele, the London club should be scouting a replacement as the Belgian is also into his 30s and has begun to wane this season.

Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with a move for Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, but he should consider a move for another Ligue 1 star instead in Monaco’s Youssef Ait Bennasser, who should be the perfect partner for Harry Winks at the base of midfield for years to come.

Dembele’s decline

The 6ft 1in ace has been one of the most underrated players at Spurs since his 2012 move from Fulham and has established himself as a mainstay in the starting XI, but his numbers this season don’t stack up with those previous and the number 19 has been hit with injuries as he missed four games between September and October and is now likely to be out of action until the New Year with a ligament injury suffered in the Wolves clash last weekend.

His outing against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men could well be his last for the Lilywhites with the Old Lady sniffing around; Poch looks set to include the midfielder in his January exodus and should therefore be prioritising a replacement. Here’s why Ait Bennasser is the perfect man to fill the Belgian’s boots.

Jack of all trades

The 22-year-old, having impressed on loan at Caen last season, has found his feet in the Monaco set-up this year, chalking up two assists in six appearances.

Deployed in defensive or central midfield, the statistics show that the former Nancy man has outshone Dembele in virtually every department.

The Tottenham man is predominantly utilised as a defensive midfielder – which is where Ait Bennasser has picked up both his assists playing – and has averaged 1.3 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game, while his younger counterpart has recorded 2.2 and 2.3 respectively (WhoScored).

The French-born Moroccan also embarrasses Dembele in attacking statistics. The latter is yet to be directly involved in a goal this season and has provided zero key passes compared to Ait Bennasser’s 0.7.

One of Dembele’s most unique qualities is his powerful dribbling, but he is even embarrassed in that department – completing an average of 0.7 dribbles to the African’s 1.2.

At only 22, Ait Bennasser still has plenty of time to improve further and he could be available for peanuts as Transfermarkt value him at just £6.3m. It would be a smart move for the honchos at White Hart Lane to consider as they look to build for the future.