The Daily Mail has reported that Mauricio Pochettino has told Mousa Dembele that he’s in line to play a key role in Tottenham’s midfield over the coming season.
Benjamin Stambouli and Etienne Capoue have both left the club, which leaves a gap in the squad in front of Tottenham’s back four.
Dembele is one player with the physique and presence to fill that void but Pochettino’s apparent pledge to the player, creates knock on problems for the Argentine.
Central midfield trio
The central midfield trio which performed extremely effectively for the majority of the last campaign was made up of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Christian Eriksen.
It would be remarkable if Pochettino didn’t look to bring an attacking player into the squad, with the ability to play out wide, which would mean one of the above three would need to make way for Dembele to get a regular chance in the Spurs first team.
It’s most likely going to be a toss-up between Bentaleb and Mason as to who makes way, because Eriksen showed consistently last year that he can hold his nerve and win Tottenham matches at key times during games.
A similar problem out wide
Pochettino could look to include Dembele in a midfield system, which includes all of the above players but that risks a repeat of a problem which was evident in Tottenham’s team throughout last season.
It would force a player, most likely Eriksen, to play a wider role in midfield where he’s less effective, placing a great deal of pressure on the full-back to get forward and supply width down one side of the team.
Dembele is a talented player, a strong player and someone who loves to take on opponents in physical battles.
However, it’s going to take a big call and a risk from the manager or a transformation in a current player for him to feature regularly.