Kieran Trippier has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur would have beaten Liverpool in the finals of the Champions League last season if Mousa Dembele was still at the club.
Dembele left Spurs to sign for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F last January after spending six and half years in North London.
During that time, he had established a reputation as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
His strength and dribbling ability made him an important cog in the Spurs wheel as he often picked up the ball deep in Tottenham’s third, skipped past a couple of challenges and turn defence into attack.
Trippier felt letting the Belgian international go was the difference between Champions League glory and ending the season empty-handed.
“We sold [Dembele] in January. I don’t know about his situation and maybe he wanted to go but I personally feel that if we’d kept him for that extra four or five months and let him go on a free in the summer we would have done a lot, lot better.
“I think we would have won the final.”
The Atletico Madrid defender claimed that it was a big blow to the squad when they heard that Dembele would be leaving.
He added: “They’ve got quality players, but, for me, the little fine margins of winning something is obviously when Mousa [Dembele] left. That’s my opinion.
“As a player you don’t want to see a player like Mousa leave, especially in January. Unless there was something that he needed to leave or whatever, I honestly don’t know.
“For me it didn’t make sense because he’s the fine margins of winning you the Champions League final. That’s how good he was. He could have three players around him and you could give him the ball.
“The amount of respect the players had for him, and to see a player like that leave in January when you are going through a difficult season, for me it didn’t make sense. That’s just my opinion.
“I don’t want to speak on any of the players thoughts on that. That’s just my opinion.
“As soon as he goes it just saps it out of you because you’ve lost Mousa Dembele.”
Spurs Web Opinion
In hindsight, had we known that we would reach the Champions League final, I am sure we would have kept Dembele. However, in fairness to the club, it did feel like Dembele’s body was breaking down and the midfielder was keen to sign one final big contract before calling time on his career. So the move to China was something that he wanted to complete and it is understandable that the club did not stand in his way.
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