Why Tottenham cannot afford to sell Dembele

The Belgian midfielder has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane, but he has a unique skillset and Spurs should think twice before allowing him to leave.

Rumours in the British press this week are indicating that Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is unsettled at White Hart Lane, and may well look for a move in the near future.

The Belgium international has started only two of Spurs’ last five games, and was withdrawn at half-time in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last time out.

As such, Dembele has admitted that he is eager to get more regular first-team action, with reports in the press stating that he may have to move elsewhere to get it.

A host of English clubs have been linked with the former Fulham man, while Napoli are also reported to be keeping tabs on the situation.

Despite Dembele’s hot-and-cold start to the new season, Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas needs to be careful not to ostracise arguably one of the squad’s most able players.

Especially given Christian Eriksen’s recent injury on international duty, Dembele could have an important role to play throughout a hectic January fixture list.

The reason that Villas-Boas has not given the playmaker more time on the pitch is due to Dembele being caught in possession or overcomplicating things in his own half. He naturally wants to get on the ball and use his skill to beat players, but there is a time and a place for this.

Given Eriksen’s injury, there is every chance that Dembele could be used in the number ten role, where his creativity and technique can be fully utilised. This would be a better fit for him, as the loss of possession or looking to beat opponents is fine in the final third.

Should Dembele leave north London, Villas-Boas’ remaining options in the centre of the park are all relatively similar, with all three having a defensive outlook. Box-to-box man Paulinho is the most attacking of the remaining midfielders, with Sandro and Etienne Capoue more adept in the holding role.

Dembele has the potential to be a star for Spurs, if he is used in the right position. Putting the more solid Sandro and Paulinho in the boiler room, with the Belgian further forward could well be the winning midfield combination for the top four hopefuls.

image: © Erik Daniel Drost

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