Chelsea are reportedly lining up Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele in a £12m move this summer, ostensibly to replace likely departee John Obi Mikel, who could be off to UAE side Al Ain after nine seasons in west London.
Dembele started just 10 Premier League fixtures during White Hart Lane gaffer Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in north London, finding himself relegated to a supporting act on the bench by early March, but Spurs are thought to value the 61-cap Belgium international at £12m nonetheless.
With West Ham also in the hunt for the 27-year-old’s services, wily Lilywhites chairmen Daniel Levy will fancy his chances of getting the full amount, but while moving to the east Londoners might guarantee Dembele more Premier League gametime, there’s plenty of gaps that need filling across town at Stamford Bridge.
Mikel made 13 all-competition starts for Chelsea last term, while Ramires turned out seven times in the holding-midfield position Dembele has tended to operate in recent years.
Furthermore, with the former Benfica dynamo seemingly covering a number of positions for the Blues, including right-forward and Cesc Fabregas’ central-midfield spot, without proving hugely productive (three goals and four assists in 29 appearances), there’s more scope for Dembele minutes than meets the eye.
He operated much further forward earlier in his career at Willem II and AZ in Holland, racking up a fine tally of 49 goals over 199 games, and often frightened the life out of defences during two terms with Fulham, plus his first season at Spurs.
With West Ham going through a summer of upheaval following the appointment of Slaven Bilic as new manager, Dembele probably won’t add to a single Eredivisie championship medal claimed with AZ six years ago by switching to the Irons.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are only just odds against at 23/20 to retain their title, and short enough in every other competition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.