Saturday, May 18, 2024

Mousa Dembele: A Farewell

After a six and a half year stay in North London with Tottenham Hotspur, Mousa Dembele’s departure from the Lillywhites has been confirmed by the player and club.

Tottenham released a series of tweet’s thanking the 31-year old Belgian for his service to the club since joining from Fulham in the summer of 2012.

Similarly the player took to Instagram to extend his thanks to “all my unbelievable teammates, the staff & fans for all your support in my time at the club”. Dembele also revealed via Instagram that his future lay with the Chinese club Guangzhou R&F. The deal is rumoured to be rising to £11 million, as Tottenham seek to generate some revenue to spend themselves. It will also see Dembele stay in China for three years.

A Deal that works for both parties

With just six months remaining on his contract LazyFanSports understands that Tottenham’s Chief Executive, Daniel Levy, didn’t want to allow his midfield powerhouse to leave on a free transfer. It was with this leaked image that Dembele’s Chinese adventure became more than another rumour on the transfer mill.

There’s is little doubting that Dembele’s move to the Chinese super league is a personal decision. He has spoken previously that he will never join another English side due to his love for Spurs, and with injuries hampering a ‘what-could-have-been’ career, a move to a less physically demanding league might salvage a few more playing years – prolonging his career.

Many are questioning whether this is a deal that is sensible for Tottenham, with their current selection crisis – especially in the midfield deaprtment. Victor Wanyama has been a long term resident on the recovery table and this weekend was joined by Moussa Sissoko who picked up a groin injury in the defeat to Manchester United. Regardless of these mounting injuries and Eric Dier and Harry Winks being currently the only fit and recognisable midfielders available to Pochettino, this deal is firmly in the interest of both Tottenham and Dembele.

If Tottenham have any hope of making any signings in this winter window, they simply must raise funds through the sales of players who are taking up precious Champions league squad spots – due to Tottenham’s struggles with home grown players. Also, the troubles with their current stadium means that most Spurs fans are aware that it will be some time before Levy will be opening the cheque book, unless funds have been raised elsewhere.

Dembele’s injuries have been slowly mounting upon the Belgian international, and his game was slowly decaying as a result. A sluggish World Cup and injured since November’s defeat to Wolves, Dembele’s slow decline may have been accelerating in his final season at Tottenham and a move to the less demanding Chinese league will be well received by Dembele as he can look to get back to his best. The sights of Oliver Skipp in recent months are signs that, as usual, Poch could already have his replacement lined up and yet again, coming through the academy of Tottenham.

One of the best?

This news will be met with emotions of gratitude and at the same time sadness by most Tottenham fans, who have been nothing but thankful for his time at the club.

Despite winning 0 trophies in his 324 appearances in English football (Fulham & Tottenham), Dembele has firmly asserted himself as one of the most graceful and powerful central midfields to have graced the Premier League.

Who could ever forget his immense shift in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw away with Juventus in last seasons Champions League: perhaps Dembele’s last truly impressive performance.

The statistics and words that those who have worked closely with, or had the unpleasant job of having to play against, speak volumes to the attributes Mousa possesses.

For instance, have a look at what @MozoSports ponders, with a pass completion only dipping below 90% once for an entire season since he moved from West to North London, could Mousa possess the best ball control the Premier league has ever seen?

(Twittter | @MozoSports)

The rankings of players as their careers come to an end is all to normal amongst fans and rival fans – but it is what those in the game have to say regarding Dembele and his imapct on football which makes you stop to realise just how special this man from Antwerp truly is.

Eric Dier ” He’s incredible because he’s massive. One of his legs is two of mine. His balance is incredible. His movement physically is so superior and then to ally that with the technical ability he has is incredible … I love Mousa, the most relaxed man in football. He’s become a very good friend.”

Dele Alli “He’s very good. His feet are unbelievable. He’s so big as well but shifts his body so easily, I don’t know how he does it.”

Granit Xhaka “In the middle of a match, I told him what I thought. ‘How do you do what you do? You front me up, I think I am going to tackle you and you manipulate the ball and move it so quickly.’ He was laughing.”

Kyle Walker “You always think he’s going to go left, but he pushes it that far that you can’t get it. It’s a joy to watch and the ball is like glue—it doesn’t move from his feet.”

For more comments on Dembele visit the article below.

Most complimentary though, are the comments his now previous manager, Mauricio Pochetinno, had to say on the departing midfielder in which he describes how he has only seen the technical ability which Dembele is blessed with in 4 other players: Ivan de la Pena, Jay-Jay Okocha, Ronaldinho and Diego Maradona.

A “genius” is how Pochettino describes Dembele, and a player whom had he had in his ranks from the ages of 18 or 19, Pochettino believes him and his coaching team could have made into one of the world’s best players.

With the young talent we have seen Pochettino bring through in the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Winks, Juan Fouyth and Kyle Walker-Peters to name a few, for Pochettino to view Dembele in such a way is a huge compliment to Beglian powerhouse, yet I’m sure leaves him with feelings and thoughts of ‘What if…?’

Farewell, Mousa

If not for the timing in which he found his family at Tottenham in Pochettino and the players, or for the numerous injuries which have plagued his feet then who knows the heights Dembele could have reached – but there certainly would have been no glass ceiling upon it. To Tottenham fans around the world, he will always be the GOAT who performed THAT swipe against Ramos in the Champions League. Also notice Kroos down in the same shot, another player Dembele has beat on one of his infamous powerhouse runs through the midfield with ball at feet – for that will be his lasting legacy in the memories of football fans.

Image: BT Sport
(Mousa Dembele attempts to win the ball against Sergio Ramos | BT Sport)

If, like me, the departure of Mousa is somewhat of a hard pill to swallow, then enjoy some of his best times in a Spurs shirt.

Thankyou, Mousa, for all those surging runs, ballet pirouettes and 10 goals despite the constant cries from fans to shoot more: you will be sorely missed in North London.

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