With just two goals in 61 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur for Moussa Dembele, it would appear his time at White Hart Lane is coming to a close.
The Belgian midfielder is using the same play as many others this January to try and secure as much playing time as possible – he wants to secure his World Cup spot.
Unfortunately for Dembele, he seems to have recently lost his place at White Hart Lane, with Andre Villas-Boas telling Dembele he prefers the more defensive Paulinho, and Sandro in the midfield.
“I can not be satisfied with it, of course, I just want to play as many games,” said Dembele. “The coach explained that he makes a tactical choice, he wants more defensive players in midfield.”
For the 26-year-old, it’s not just Tottenham’s crowded midfield he has to be worried about.
Belgium, an up-and-coming powerhouse that looks poised for a possible World Cup breakout, is packed in the midfield. Dembele must contend with the likes of Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Marouane Fellaini for a spot in the starting squad.
The goal tally for Dembele has never been there since even his Fulham days, but since his August 2012 move to White Hart Lane his talent on the ball and ability to make runs at defenders have been vital.
Unfortunately for the Belgian, he was pegged further and further back by AVB’s tactics, with the Portugese manager preferring not to utilize Dembele’s on-ball skills and instead sit two midfielders back as distributors rather than dynamic chance-creators.
That role is much more suited for the Brazilian duo of midfielders, and they’ve both excelled, sending Dembele to the bench.
Fulham manager Martin Jol has often lamented the absence of the Belgian since his transfer, but it remains to be seen what his loss would be worth monetarily to Villas-Boas.