Mousa Dembele has been an excellent signing for Tottenham this season.
He cost the club £15m, which now looks an absolute bargain. Considering Spurs sold two of their prized assets in Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, the Belgian has filled in expertly.
So far this campaign he has made 29 appearances and has scored two goals whilst making four assists. He scored in the 1-1 draw at home to Norwich and also bagged the winner in the final minute against Lyon to send Spurs through to the Europa League last 16.
His pass success rate is over 90%, which is among the best in Europe, and his ball retention is second to none. Dembele's ability to ghost past defenders is similar in a way to Tottenham legend Paul Gascoigne as his balance and touch allows him to glide with the ball.
A lot of times this season the Belgian international turns defence into attack in one turn or explosive burst away from the back four. He is such an influential player because of his knack of creating an opening from nothing. His other positive characteristics include his strength and ability to draw fouls anywhere on the pitch.
The 25-year-old can go on to greater things at Tottenham if they keep their best players and he continues to progress in the same manner he did at Fulham. His former boss Martin Jol described him as "probably the best player on the ball I've ever seen".
What he does lack is positioning, and at times he gets caught playing too deep, as players like Scott Parker and Sandro are often seen playing further up the pitch than him even though he's more of an attacking player.
This also comes down to a lack of fitness which brings me onto my second point. He starts games off by running the midfield in literally every game he plays, even against the big clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Then in the second half he tends to tire and doesn't get on the ball as much which crucially affects Tottenham's flow.
When Dembele is away from the side, results falter and that is a fact. In games he gets substituted or when he slows down, Tottenham's statistics also drop.
A lot of fans and the media rave about Gareth Bale and rightly so, but Dembele is a very close second in the Spurs team. His influence on the ball, in particular, is vital and he will need to be on his game if his team are to claim fourth place and progress in Europe.
After all, Bale and Aaron Lennon are on the injury list at present which means now is his time to step up to the mantle and become the leader on the pitch.
Follow me on Twitter: @ErenMitchNicel
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