Former captain claims departure of one star player still haunts Spurs two years later

Graham Roberts
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Image

Graham Roberts, the former Spurs defender and captain has claimed that the hole left in the side by Mousa Dembele’s exit is a big part of the club’s recent woes.

Roberts, who won two FA Cups and captained Tottenham to UEFA Cup success during his 6-year spell at the lane, provided a scathing indictment of the squad and in particular the midfield, in an interview with ‘Football FanCast’.

Since the Belgian left White Hart Lane in January 2019, the likes of Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg have all been brought in at central midfield at a combined cost in the region of £100milllion.

Roberts clearly doubts the ability of those signings, remarking “I’m not having a dig at players, but you need someone to replace Mousa Dembele, you need quality, and we haven’t had that.”

He went on to say: “Mousa has been gone two-and-a-half years, and we have gone backwards since [he left], our midfield has been awful.”

Roberts may be heartened to see links with the likes of Franck Kessie and Houssem Aouar. However, the defence seems to be the focus for Paratici, so Roberts may have to suffer another season with our current crop in the centre.

SpursWeb opinion

Mousa Dembele was undoubtedly a key player for Pochettino’s Tottenham and his absence is of course notable.

However, Ndombele and Lo Celso are still young and have shown moments of promise and real quality in a Spurs shirt. Højbjerg hasn’t put a foot wrong in his time with the club either.

The notion that Spurs lack quality in midfield, I believe is unfounded and their decline is far more to do with the disappointing defensive displays and high volume of individual errors.

Have something to tell us about this article?


  1. The job Moussa Dembele did was incredible. We also have never had anybody like Luka Modric since he left. Building play and setting balls into channels for people to run into. Then Christian Eriksen also hasn’t been replaced. It’s fine Kane dropping deep and creating, but with a creative attacking midfielder (Dele isn’t in Eriksen’s class) Kane could stay further forward and score more goals. The club’s transfer policy really needs looking at. We don’t seem to gamble on slightly unproven gems any more. We seem to go for them too late when every other club wants them and can offer them more money and chance of trophies. I would use the likes of James Maddison and Jack Grealish as examples. We could have bought either for £20m-£25m a few years ago. Now they are worth £70m-£80m. Instead we waste £10m on Jack Clarke who had barely played for Leeds.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.