He may have left the club over a year ago, but Mousa Dembele’s absence is still continuing to cause Tottenham pain.
The Belgium international arrived in a £15m deal from fellow London side Fulham back in the summer of 2012, and was a swiftly-signed replacement for Luka Modric who had left the club to join La Liga giants Real Madrid.
Reports had even suggested that the man signed whilst Andre Villas-Boas was in charge had attracted interest from Manchester United and Madrid themselves prior to his switch to north London.
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And whilst he may not have been a part of any trophy-winning side at Spurs, he certainly played a major role in establishing the Lilywhites as a permanent fixture amongst the Premier League’s ‘big-six’.
He played an impressive 249 times for the club, scoring ten goals and providing a further 12 assists. But it wasn’t his goal contributions that defined his time in north London, but the sheer power and skill he brought to the table everytime he stepped onto the pitch.
Despite standing at an imposing 6 foot 1, Dembele combined sheer force with elegance, always having that ability to go past a player with some silky dribbling. As per Whoscored, his final three seasons in the Premier League with Spurs saw him average at least two dribbles per game, whilst the 2015/2016 campaign in particular saw him average 2.9 per match.
It says a lot about how good he was at Spurs, that Jose Mourinho’s side have yet to really replace him. The big-money signing of Tanguy Ndombele may have been hoped as the start of something new, but the Frenchman’s struggles has seen him come under strong criticism from his very own manager.
It was no surprise that former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino waxed lyrical about Dembele, calling him a “genius” and an “unbelievable player”. The north Londoners no doubt still miss the Belgian in their engine room.