The opinion among many knowledgeable individuals in the football world was that Tottenham Hotspur would not part with play-maker Luka Modric until chairman Daniel Levy and manager Andre Villas-Boas were sure they already had a replacement all-but signed. Spurs officially introduced that player on Wednesday.
Tottenham announced via their official website on Wednesday afternoon local time that they have acquired Belgium international Moussa Dembele from Fulham. It was confirmed on Tuesday evening that the two clubs had agreed on a £15m transfer fee, a value that matches the player's buyout clause, and that Dembele would likely join Tottenham today after completing a medical. The terms of his deal with Spurs have not yet been released by the club as of the posting of this piece, but Sky Sports News reported via a TV report at 1:15 pm ET that Dembele has signed a five-year deal with Tottenham.
It is believed that the 25-year old Dembele will immediately fill the hole in the Tottenham lineup that was created by the departure of the previously mentioned Modric, who completed an anticipated and expected move to Real Madrid earlier this week. An attacking midfielder who can also feature up top, Dembele had reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United and Chelsea this summer. He last played for Fulham this past Saturday in the team's 3-2 defeat to United. Dembele was very impressive in that contest, and he was twice denied a goal by David de Gea.
Dembele is an attacking midfielder who does well to push forward, but he doesn't find the back of the net nearly as much as one would like. He should fit nicely in AVB's lineup, and he could prove to be the piece that Spurs have been missing in the attacking third during their first two games of the 2012-13 Premier League season. His arrival at White Hart Lane also brings with it questions about multiple players who are currently with the team.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, signed by Spurs at the beginning of July, is off to a bit of a slow start this season. He could be permanently relegated to the bench for the foreseeable future if certain rumors about potential Tottenham targets prove to be true. Reports also continue to swirl about the future of Rafael van der Vaart, who could return to Hamburg by this weekend. The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday that Levy wants £14m for the Dutch ace, and multiple sources have, over the past several weeks, reported that Hamburg are currently not willing to match that price. That same Daily Mail story also states that Spurs made a bid for Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Willian, an offer that was declined. It's possible, of course, that Villas-Boas will have Dembele, Sigurdsson and Van der Vaart all as available options on September 1 when Spurs host Norwich City.
One thing that should be pointed out is that Tottenham fans dreaming of seeing the fluid play that catapulted Spurs up the league table last fall should avoid having such high expectations heading into September 2012. As others have pointed out, Dembele is not an exact Modric replacement. He is, however, an extremely talented player who joins Spurs at somewhat of a bargain, a midfielder capable of producing quality from the back and also captaining counterattacks.
Dembele could also ultimately make Spurs a bit of money on a sale that occurs several years down the road.