Ever since Mousa Dembele left Tottenham back in January of 2019, the north London side have greatly missed their former midfield maestro.
Despite standing at 6 foot 1, the Belgian was fleet of foot, and glided past players with ease. Such was the incredible impression that he made in his time at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino paid him one of the greatest compliments he could by comparing him to some of football’s greats.
He said: “I can only talk about him because I know very well him after nearly four years. And I told you and then some people use my words to describe him as a genius of the football. And for me he is this type of player, I think I told you in my book, I put him next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, Okocha – players that I was lucky to play with.”
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But since Dembele’s exit to the Chinese Super League, Spurs haven’t had a midfielder in a similar mould to the Belgian; capable of starting from deep, carrying the ball forward, and being a threat with both his passing and strength further up the pitch.
However, if the latest reports from Foot Mercato are to be believed, then the Lilywhites could be finding Dembele’s perfect heir in Lazio powerhouse Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
At 6 foot 3, the Serbia international is similarly tall and powerful, and whilst his physical attributes match up, he is equally as impressive with the ball at his feet too.
This season, the 25-year-old has been in imperious form for Lazio in Serie A, racking up five goals and four assists in 27 games across all competitions. Aside from being defensively sound, averaging 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game, he has been a monster when marauding forward.
He has averaged two shots, 1.3 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game, and that ability to go through the gears from the middle of the park is exactly what Spurs have been missing since Dembele’s departure.
It’s no surprise that his agent, Mateja Kezman, spoke highly of his abilities, saying: “He has remarkable attributes and you’ll not find another player in the world with that power, muscular structure and height combined with technique and tactical awareness.”
It’s a signing that could add a different dimension to Spurs’ midfield, and one that will surely have people reminiscing about the good old days of Dembele.