Who is Dembele replacing?

by Matthew Harris on August 29, 2012

This was always going to be a busy few days for Tottenham after the sale of Luka Modric on Monday and it looks as if the first post-Luka deal will bring Fulham’s Moussa Dembele to White Hart Lane. Nothing has been confirmed as yet but with the two clubs agreeing a fee last night it could only be a matter of time.

At £15m for the 25 year old Belgian international it does seem like good business. There were reports yesterday that either Bentley or Jenas could be included as part of the deal but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Even without the deadwood cleared, Dembele seems a good signing but where will he fit in?

Last season, Martin Jol compared his player to Rafael van der Vaart and that has led to more speculation suggesting that VDV will re-join Hamburg before the transfer window is closed. However, Dembele’s goalscoring stats suggest he is more Modric than VDV.

At Fulham the Belgian has netted seven times in 73 games and has scored five times in 40 full internationals. Meanwhile, Van der Vaart has 28 in 78 for Spurs and 19 in 100 for Holland.

While those bare stats may not tell the full story it does beg the question as to whether you’re happy to see Dembele arrive – and is that welcome dependent on who he replaces?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Totspurs August 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

Raffa / Aaron and Moutinho is Modric’s replacement

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akshayaalase August 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

Tottenham LLORIS-DEMBELE-JESUS NAVAS-WIILIAN-ISCO-LLORENTE

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akshayaalase August 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

VDV–MODRIC–JENAS–HUDDLESTONE——TO REPLACE—-DEMBLELE–MOUNTINHO—MVILLA—WILLIAN

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Jayme August 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

It frustrates me how ignorant some spurs fans are, do try to watch some other games, if I told you we was signing Kaka you would be delighted based on reputation, even though his legs are gone as well as confidence.

Moussa Dembele is a better player than Luka Modric, I promise you I dont think you understand how good he is, his tackling stats are better, his passing stats are better, he is more physical can go round players more easily than Modric and has a better shot.

Watch some other games and you will see there is good players outside the top 6, I understand not knowing much about Willian but Dembele plays in the premiership surely you remember him tearing us apart at the lane last year, or when he did it at craven cottage…..how about when he scored that goal against us in the cup (0-4) when he ran through our team.

He can play CM, AM and ST, he is soo good he could play anywhere….

To answer your question he is replacing Modric at the moment but if VDV goes then he can slide into that position as well

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Matt August 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

I agree… Have been really impressed with him everytime I have seen him. He did indeed tare us apart when we played them. He’s great on the ball, very fast dribbler, good passer, great shot, very strong, fast and athletic. Has a lot going for him.

I love VdV, but for all his clever play, great passing and goal scoring ability, I wish he was physically a lot stronger / faster.

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TonyRich August 29, 2012 at 11:01 am

Dembele – although good – is not better than Modric. I can accept “potentially as good as or better”, but not right now, because Dembele still has to prove it. Modric far more experienced. More international tournaments, Champions League, more Premier League experience, and now signed for Real Madrid. Dembele has only been playing central midfield for one year, and Modric has been doing it for years. You go on stats, but they are not universally applicable. Tackling stats depends on what team you play for, what level they are at, and what type of football they play. Modric is not on the field for his tackling anyway – despite him holding his own in a 4th placed EPL side. Pass completion stats depends on how many creative balls you attempt. Some players attempt nothing and get better pasing stats. I am not saying ignore the stats, but experience and achievements are a more important indicator. The jury is out on how well Dembele can fit into Modric’s shoes. I hope he does well, but you cannot say he is better until he actually proves it.

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TonyRich August 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

The other quality of Modric that people forget is his brain. Yes, Dembele is taller, quicker, has powerful shot – but under closer scrutiny we will be able to see how he thinks on the field. Hopefully he signs and I’ll be at the lane on Saturday to see his debut.

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Jayme August 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Listen Modric’s not effective enough to play AM so we are having to play him as part of a 2, which requires a bit of physicality and tackling……he has none of these qualities which is why we lost soo many away games against physical sides (Everton, Stoke).

Modric is a hard player to fit in and remember he had a terrible run of games last year, I dont remember him having too many good games last season……..I agree with a lot of the press in the fact he is very over rated.

A good player yes, and in the right team who pass, i.e Barcelona he would be perfect but this league is too physical for him.

On the last day of the season Dembele was running rings around Modric, I remember mentioning it to my mate at the time, the fact Dembele plays at Fulham is why he isnt raved about more, to play for Fulham and have Real Madrid and Man uTd make enquiries shows how good he is.

Answer me 1 question how many games has he dominated against the big teams, the only side he does well against is Liverpool but face it they are poor.
He goes missing against decent teams

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Matt August 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

akshayaalase – I swear you come on and say the exact same thing every time I come on this blog!! In theory, yes that is great, but we are not playing Football Manager here.

I think once we have more suitable personnel for what AVB wants, we may be more likely to switch to his 4-3-3 style.

Dembele could play as either winger in any formation. Or, more likely, the attacking midfielder in our current 4-2-3-1. If we do move to the 4-3-3, then he can play as one of those 3 in the CM.

I would expect the Willian rumours are more for Lennon replacement / cover.

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Swansur August 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

Willian is more comfortable on the left, but his prefered position is central midfield. He can also play on the right so he would give the manager plenty of options.

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Bcee August 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

Arguably just a new cog for a new system rather than a direct replacement. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more cohesion in the middle than purely relying on the wings to get forward.

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JB August 29, 2012 at 11:19 am

If these rumours are true and you do sign Dembele you should be very happy. I am 27 and have had a season ticket at Fulham for most of those years. I realise we have only been at the top level for 10 years but I can safely say Dembele is the best player I have ever seen play for the club. I am actually surprised someone bigger than Tottenham hasn’t come in last minute to steel as he is too good for you guys, no offence intended.

I see most of you are trying to guess who he will replace. I personally think he will be a direct replacement for Modric and sit in the midfield. We tried him in other positions but found that he went missing on wings/ up front and you need to get a player of his quality on the ball as much as possible.

Im sure you will think you already have good players on the ball. That may be the case but I am confident when I say none will be better.

I knew he was too good for us and was waiting for him to leave but thought we’d get more money. At the reported 15m you have got a massive bargain and should be very happy. I still believe you will only have him for 2 years before someone better comes in but you should at least double your money.

P.S. his only weakness is that he cant shoot!! He can pass, tackle and beat people with ease but he cant shoot!

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Gus August 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

He’ll fit right into Modric’s shoes then!!

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hekko August 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

Good of you to say. Cheers.

I am glad you think he is a Modders replacement. That is where tottenham are so weak at the moment. People underestimate modric and the loss (well not Real). From what I have seen of Dembele,very powerful, good technique and okay passing. Better than modders at winning the ball but I doubt his passing is better. Modders had unbelievable passing vision, execution and his control is second to none.

I think people are underestimating VDV. I wouldn’t like to see Dembele replace VDV. Tottenham have a great attack..but we lack goals. Losing one of our top scorers would just be insane unless you can replace him with another goal machine (Damiao) which we won;t

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craig August 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

Hi JB, thanks for taking the time to come on and give us an insight into Dembele and how he’s been played at Fulham.
I think his versatility and proven premiership experience, plus the release clause (when compared with what was being asked for Willian, Moutinho etc) were what sealed it for AVB/Levy.
I hope you guys get a suitable replacement in, you could do worse than take Tom Huddlestone on loan for a season and I think most Spurs fans (and Hudd himself) would prefer to see him at Fulham over Stoke.

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DAVE August 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

Spurs are big enough believe me. Opposing fans don’t like to hear it, but you only need to look at players that choose to come to the lane and those that choose to remain (Bale etc) to see that within the game we are regarded as one of the biggest clubs in England

COYS

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JB August 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for the responses Guys.

Hekko – Passing is the area where modic is better than dembele but having only played centre mid for a year he is still improving. The main strength he has is going round players like they’re not there. I’m sure you’ll be plesently surprised with his close ball control and ability to get out of seemingly impossible situations. I think he attacks space better than Modric with the ball and will help your attacks through the middle to progress with more speed.

Craig – Would love Hudd as a replacement for Murphy but dont think we’d take a loan deal. It seems silly for us not to make this part of the deal. Who would want someone they liked to move to stoke?!

Dave – there’s always one!!! Unfortunately having only been in the Champions league once you are not a member of the elite clubs in Europe or the Prem. If Chelsea, Man Utd or City wanted this player they could take him off you. Having fired the only manager in recent years that has done well for you also seem like a crazy move especially when you have replaced him with someone that did such a bad job at Chelsea. Bringing up players that choose to remain also seems like a bad argument as the whole Dembele thing has come about because of Modric leaving for a bigger club, or had you forgotten that??? I wont even go into Berbs, Carrick etc

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Nin August 30, 2012 at 7:07 am

JB that was years ago with carrick and berba. Look at modders last season? and Bale ? If we don`t want to sell then we won`t

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Nin August 30, 2012 at 7:04 am

If not in Europe!! Look what we did in our debut season in the CL! They aren’t many bigger clubs in Europe!

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Nin August 30, 2012 at 7:10 am

We have sold Modric to Real Madrid. Didn’t Manu sell Ronaldo too ……. Please do not underestimate the mighty Spurs even the scum are worried of us!

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dennis August 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

COYS

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vishal_spurs August 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Why havent we confirmed his signing yet??
m getting more and more anxious

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HoxtonBoy August 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Yes it’s goals that are going to be the problem – just look at the first two games to confirm that. We would have won those if we had anyone who could hit a barn door.
Ade will do OK but he is lazy and only plays when he wants to. Defoe is a great little player but he misses too many and needs the right service. If VDV goes then we will have no other proven goalscorer in the side – unless you count Bale. None of our midfielders ever score. Our only threat at the moment is coming from the wings but Lennon can’t cross or shoot and Bale didn’t make a single one count last week either. We need some other options.

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gavman August 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

i dont understand it either, in the 4-2-3-1 system that villas boas is keen on siggurdson would sit in behind the striker which would leave dembele either on the right wing or as the lone striker seems like a silly option to buy dembele

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