Tottenham Hotspur lost one of their longest serving players last month when Mousa Dembele departed the club after six and a half years.
With just six months left on his contract in North London, Dembele joined Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F for a fee of £11million rather than have lost him on a free transfer in the summer. (Guardian).
Dembélé, who has not played for Spurs since 3 November after sustaining a foot injury at Wolves, was well aware that his body’s capacity to keep up with the harsh demands of the Premier League was in doubt and he wanted a move to a lower-tempo league.
He made 250 appearances in all competitions for Spurs, scoring 10 goals.
The 31-year-old midfielder was asked about his decision to leave Spurs and revealed that he was keen to experience another culture, with the atmosphere at his new club being similar to that of what he was used to in England.
Dembele told Sky Sports: “I’m a social guy I think. I’m not too serious. I don’t like to be too serious. I think off the pitch I can have a laugh with everyone.
“I like to see myself as open-minded. That is one of the reasons I wanted to come to China. I wanted to see something different.
“I wanted to have a different experience in life. I heard already there is good food in Guangzhou. I will try this a lot. I think my family will enjoy it as well here.”
“I feel good – everybody is very welcoming,” he added. “This is a very important thing if you are new in a club, people try to make you feel very comfortable from the start.
“I think everybody is doing this and it’s a good feeling for me and it will make it easier to adapt and to feel at home as quickly as possible.
“I have a small application on my phone that I look into and try to understand some words. Hopefully in six months I will know some words already. I think I know already some words. There is ‘ni hao’, ‘ni hao’ is okay.
“I like the fact there are a lot of jokes on the pitch but when it has to be serious, they are serious, everyone is serious. Between everything, the exercises, the people, the jokes, it’s what I like as well.
“The jokes and everything is similar to Tottenham. The group atmosphere is very comparable with Tottenham. I like this because in Tottenham it was a good group, everyone was very good together.
“I feel as though here that all the players have a good mentality I think.”
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