Mousa Dembélé has gone from a fringe member of Tottenham Hotspur's squad to one of its most important players and a lock in Spurs' first 11. So what's better than Mousa Dembélé? How about TWO Mousa Dembélés! Today the Standard is reporting that Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is keeping an eye on young Fulham striker Moussa Dembélé– that's "Moussa" with two s's – as Spurs continue to try and find a backup striker for Harry Kane.
This would actually be a reunion for the Dembélés: Mousa joined Tottenham from Fulham back in 2012 when the younger Moussa was still in Fulham's youth setup. Since then, Fulham have been relegated and are currently mid-table in the Championship (and without a manager). However, this has given the opportunity to Moussa, who has has quietly developed into a starter for Fulham. The 19-year old French national has scored eight goals in 18 appearances in all competitions for Fulham this season, and it's been enough to put him on the radar of Everton and Feyenoord, according to the Standard.
But who exactly is Moussa Dembélé? Thankfully, we have an expert in network, so I reached out to Andrew Beck, managing editor of Cottagers Confidential, SB Nation's Fulham blog. Andrew has written about how much he loves Dembélé the Younger and what he means to the club, and he graciously took the time to answer my questions.
CFC: What kind of a striker is Moussa Dembele? What are his strengths/weaknesses?
AB: He's fast, deceptively powerful for his age... he's only 6'0" but he already weighs about 165. As he grows into his body I expect him to get stronger. He's got good technical skill and is a good finisher. He's not really great at hold up play or in the air from what I've seen. He does have a really good sense of when and where to move.
CFC: So more in the mold of a, say, Lukaku-style striker than a poacher?
AB: Yeah... he's not as big as Lukaku or Drogba, but he's much more likely to run at someone with the ball than play with his back to goal.
CFC: So I take it you’re not surprised that there are other clubs sniffing around him. What’s his ceiling?
AB: I'd say his ceiling would be a striker on a Champions League club. Other than his first exposure to the Championship as an 18 year old, he's dominated every level he's been at. He dominated the U18s when he first got here. He played and dominated at the U21s even when he was 17 and 18. He was a big part of the core of the Fulham academy that made the FA Youth Cup Final (and frankly should have won)
CFC: His contract is up this year. Do you think Fulham can keep ahold of him?
AB: It seems he's at least interested in signing a new deal. Emerson Hyndman is not, and he's been frozen out. The fact that Dembélé still playing means that there is still some negotiation. I don't think he's quite ready for a higher league yet, so if he were to leave, he'd end up on the bench or being loaned somewhere... his best bet is probably to sign a new deal with a reasonable release clause that would give him some playing time and financial security.
CFC: How much do you think it would take to prise him away from Fulham in January or this summer, assuming he doesn't sign a new deal?
If we can believe Andrew (and we absolutely can) then Dembélé would be a signing for the future. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that Spurs could go after him in January and loan him back to Fulham or to another club, like what they did with Dele Alli. Or they could bring him in and throw him into the fire. Or, we can acknowledge that this is, at this point, a mostly unsourced #batcountry rumor and we almost certainly shouldn't put the cart in front of the horse at this stage.
But that doesn't mean we can't speculate! Dembélé the Younger is well regarded, young, strong, and with a high ceiling: exactly the kind of player Spurs continue to target as they revamp the team under Pochettino. Fulham fans would no doubt howl over Spurs poaching both Mous(s)a Dembélés from them, but that's football, right? Plus there's something to be said about the possibility of a Dembélé-to-Dembélé goal in a couple of seasons.