With media reports claiming Spurs are considering making a bid for Moussa Dembélé and the player himself claiming that he would like to one day "play for a top club," I thought it might be worthwhile to post a few graphics that captured Dembélé’s masterclass performance in Fulham’s loss to Manchester United yesterday. All graphics were made using FourFourTwo Stats Zone App. Passing Playing in a left-sided central midfield position, the Belgian's passing was calm, measured and generally forward looking. He completed 96% of his passes, creating 3 chances in the process.
Graphics and further analysis below the jump.
This compares favorably to Jake Livermore's game against West Bromwich Albion yesterday, even more so when you consider that Fulham had 40% of possession against Manchester United while Spurs had 60% of possession against West Brom.
Though Dembélé did not score in yesterday's match, he twice came close.
The first attempt was a good strike from distance and the second came after Dembélé easily ghosted past two Manchester United players. Both attempts can be seen on this video, starting at the 7:50 mark.
Dembélé attempted to "take-on" (i.e., dribble past) Manchester United players 11 times, succeeding 9 times. To understand just how ridiculous that is, consider that the entire Tottenham team attempted only 7 take-ons in the match against West Brom, succeeding 4 times.
In addition to being its most frequent dribbler, Dembélé is also one of the Fulham's best tacklers -- a very rare combination in the Premier League. He successfully completed 7 of 8 tackle attempts yesterday, using his excellent upper body strength to repeatedly push smaller players off the ball. In this chalkboard I compare him to Sandro, Spurs' most frequent tackler yesterday and the player I believe to be the best tackler in the Premier League.
While some members of the CFC community believe that targets linked to Tottenham are not better Modric replacements than Jake Livermore, I strongly disagree. Jake Livermore is a nice player but he's simply not in the same class as Moussa Dembélé at this point in his career. While Dembélé would not provide the exact same qualities that Luka Modric did for Spurs (most notably passing creativity), he offers others that Modric did not, including terrific dribbling ability to take players on as well as superb ability in the tackle. If first choice Modric replacement João Moutinho remains unattainable due to Porto's asking price, Spurs could do far worse than make a move for Fulham's midfield magician.