Belgium international midfielder Mousa Dembele has completed an £11million move from Tottenham to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F, subject to international clearance. The latter should not be a problem, though.The deal will not have come as a major shock, as Dembele has not featured for Spurs since the beginning of November.
His body cannot take the demands of the Premier League
A few seasons ago, Dembele was one of Tottenham’s key players. Without him, Mauricio Pochettino’s team were not quite the same team. His intelligence, quality on the ball and drive played a big role in helping Tottenham to become a mainstay in the Premier League’s top-four.
Despite his importance to the team, Dembele’s role has been restricted in the last few seasons, usually by injuries. In fact, I read a stat somewhere that the midfielder has had 50 minor injuries in the last eight seasons.
That is a big number of injuries for any player’s body to take, without feeling the negative effects. One of the reasons the move makes sense is that the Chinese Super League will cause less of a strain on Dembele’s body.
Chinese move will suit Dembele
The move to China will not only be good for his body but also his bank balance. The financial lure of the Chinese Super League in recent years has attracted many ageing European and South American players.
The Chinese strategy is familiar to the one that the US MLS employed to help raise the profile and the standard of play in its early years following the league’s inception in the mid-nineties. Apart from the obvious financial benefits of the move, Dembele gets to continue to play football, without the gruelling Premier League schedule or tempo causing him physical problems.
Many players move to China and soon return to Europe or South America, as the culture clash is too much or they feel they can earn quick money in China before returning to the big world leagues. I cannot claim to know Dembele personally. However, he comes across as the sort of person who would be happy to play out the final few years of his career in the Chinese Super League.
His signing could certainly prove to be a coup for the Chinese Super League and in particularly Guangzhou.
Tottenham have done well out of the deal
While Dembele has been a great player for Spurs, the north London club have done well to sell a player of nearly 32 for a fee of £11million, especially as he was out of contract in the summer anyway.
The 31-year-old has been an influential player in the past for Tottenham. However, his influence in the squad and on the team has weakened in recent years due to absence through injury. Therefore selling him at this point will not have a major effect on the team’s starting line-up considering his lack of appearances of late.
Of course, the majority of Tottenham fans will be sad to see the midfielder leave the club. In reality, though, Dembele is no longer the player of three or four years ago, who has the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. He is still a decent player, but maybe not capable of playing the sort of football he could in his younger years.
Maybe Tottenham could put the £11million towards signing a new striker to cover Harry Kane’s injury. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to start Fernando Llorente up front in Sunday’s clash at Fulham, a game Spurs are odds of 7/10 to win, despite their striker shortage.
Anyway, back to Dembele. The midfielder was a class act on his day, although one of his few faults was maybe that he did not score enough goals for a player of his ability. However, that should take nothing away from a highly respectable six and a half years in north London and I am sure he leaves with the best wishes of Tottenham fans.
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