Why Tottenham would be crazy to sell Chelsea-linked Moussa Dembele

The Belgian midfielder has been linked with a Spurs exit.

Moussa Dembele has been much maligned by certain sections of the media and indeed the Spurs support during his three years at White Hart Lane.

Critics often cite a lack of real attacking contribution, in terms of goals and assists, and bemoan his sometimes pedestrian approach to the game.

Indeed Dembele managed only one goal and one assist in the Premier League last season, but that return was not low enough to put off his suitors it would seem.

The Independent today reported on Chelsea and West Ham’s interest in the 27-year old, with £12 million his rumoured valuation.

While there’s no denying the Belgian has failed to set the world alight at Spurs, there is also no denying his individual quality and the added element he brings to the Spurs midfield.

While Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb offer energy and directness in their passing, Dembele brings composure to a sometimes naive Spurs side.

Used primarily off the bench last season, his influence was more often than not a calming one. His ability to retain possession and his underrated ability to retrieve it proved a great tool at Mauricio Pochettino’s disposal when it came to seeing out games.

He also operated behind Harry Kane in the number 10 role for a run of games earlier this year and looked every bit the accomplished attacking midfielder. Playing further up the pitch, Dembele's effortless ability to beat defenders became more influential given the proximity to goal.

A dip in form saw him relegated to the bench and a bit-part role for the remainder of the season but he has shown enough to suggest involvement next season.

In some ways he is a victim of circumstance in that he isn’t perfectly suited to Pochettino’s pressing system and its physical requirements. He has also had his fair share of disruptive injuries yet his influence remains an important one, difficult to quantify statistically.

In terms of natural ability, he is up there amongst Spurs finest and his skillset is one of the most unique in the Premier League. If reports are to be believed, Jose Mourinho can see this and Spurs should be doing their utmost to make sure he doesn’t make the short journey across London.

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