Tottenham would have beaten Liverpool in the Champions League final if Mousa Dembele hadn’t been sold months earlier, according to Kieran Trippier.
Dembele left Spurs for Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F midway through last season having succumbed to fitness and injury problems – issues that had made it difficult for the midfielder to play more than once a week in the first half of the campaign.
Despite losing one of the most important players of Mauricio Pochettino era, Tottenham managed to reach the Champions League final via incredible knockout victories over Manchester City and Ajax.
But the final was one game too far for the Londoners, who fell to a cruel defeat to Liverpool in Madrid.
Trippier, who followed Dembele out the exit door last summer, started in the final but could do nothing as Liverpool saw off Spurs at his new home, Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
“For me I felt personally it was about selling Mousa Dembele,” said the defender. “He was the best player I’ve ever played with. For me you can’t replace him.
“We sold him in January. I don’t know about his situation and maybe he wanted to go but I personally feel that if we’d kept him for that extra four or five months and let him go on a free in the summer we would have done a lot, lot better.
“I think we would have won the final.”
In reality, it’s impossible to say if Spurs would have even reached the final if Dembele had stayed, as it took a very specific set of circumstances for Pochettino’s men to get past Manchester City and Ajax.
But it would be fair say Tottenham have been a worse team since Dembele left.