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Spurs tell Sunderland that Mousa Dembele is not for sale

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With four midfielders already gone, Spurs have no intention of selling their Belgian playmaker.

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Sunderland may have made an inquiry for Tottenham Hotspur midfield playmaker Mousa Dembele, but it doesn't appear that Spurs are in any hurry to get rid of him. The Northern Echo, a northeast England newspaper, reports that Spurs have warned the Black Cats about Dembele, saying he's not for sale.

With the massive midfield exodus going on at Tottenham Hotspur right now, you'd be forgiven for thinking that just about anyone who didn't play much last season might be available for sale. Thus far, Spurs have sold Lewis Holtby, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, and Benjamin Stambouli. The Echo implies, however, that Dembele has been given assurances by Spurs that he will be given more time in the first team next year.

[Dembele and Pochettino] discussed their position over the weekend, and with two years of his current contract remaining, Dembele is expecting to start the new campaign with Spurs.

That will force Sunderland to look elsewhere, with [Dick] Advocaat having talked through his plans in a face-to-face meeting with Black Cats owner Ellis Short yesterday.

Many Spurs fans have been scratching their heads over why Dembele didn't play more with the team last season. Dembele had a very strong, albeit brief, run playing as a defensive #10 last season, but was on the bench more often than not. Dembele was understandably upset with his role last season and was seeking assurances from the club about his future, so this is encouraging news if you're a fan of keeping the Belgian band together.

With Spurs' first team midfield at present consisting of Dembele, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Tom Carroll, Harry Winks, and (maybe) Milos Veljkovic, losing another midfielder, especially one with the experience of Dembele, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You can argue how effective Dembele is playing in the pivot, but he knows how to play there and is more of an asset than a liability, especially considering the relative inexperience of Spurs' other backup midfielders. We're still expecting that Tottenham will sign a midfielder – someone, anyone – to help beef up the pivot, but keeping Dembele around most certainly will help.