Date: 11th July 2012 at 11:18pm
Written by:
Will the Fulham man become a true a star?

Will the Fulham man become a true star?

During the long, lonely summer without Premier League football, United are linked with dozens of potential signings to improve the squad, especially after disappointing seasons (trophy wise) such as the one we have just had. While it is not the main point of this piece of writing, I would like to make the point that, since United spent £50m on the squad after securing a record 19th title and Champions League final place, it is unlikely that Sir Alex will only spend money in acquiring Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell in the 2012 summer transfer window.

One of the names linked to United since just before the 2011/12 season ended- I believe it was Saturday May 12th when the first links appeared- is Fulham’s central midfielder Moussa Dembele, converted into the position by Martin Jol after signing for the club under Mark Hughes, who employed Dembele in a support striker role.

The reaction on Twitter amongst United fans to the potential signing of Dembele has puzzled me. Essentially, the collective response of those Twitter users who follow United can be summed up by the word “Meh”; they seem underwhelmed by the prospect of Dembele joining United.

This attitude appears to show little regard for the Belgian’s qualities, and a quick look at some of his statistics for the 2011/12 campaign show that he is deserving of more respect. Last season, of all the players- in every position, not just central midfield- in the Premier League, only Yohan Cabaye (116 tackles) attempted more tackles than Dembele (113 tackles). Given the tough-tackling players playing in the Premier League- for example Alex Song, Cheik Tiote, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure- this is an impressive statistic for a player who was consistently playing in a somewhat unfamiliar position for the first time. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Dembele, with 86 successful tackles, won more tackles than any other player in the Premier League last season.

When that facet of the debate has subsided, Dembele’s detractors then tend to state that his passing is not good enough for a central midfielder. This, another myth, is disproven by the fact that, last season, Dembele had a pass completion rate of 88.5%, impressive by any standards, especially given that the 2011/12 season was his first with central midfield as his principal position. Dembele managed an average of 1.4 key passes per game, only misplacing passes to opposition players an average of 1.1 times per game. Rather surprisingly, Dembele carried out a greater number of dribbles than the likes of Sergio Aguero and Nani last season, with an average of 2.2 dribbles per game, the third highest in the league. This appears to suggest that Dembele would bring a certain drive to United’s midfield that has arguably been lacking since Roy Keane left the club in November 2005.

I hope that, with the statistics provided above, I have been able to dispel some of the myths surrounding Moussa Dembele. Personally, I would be happy if United were to sign the powerful Belgian; yes, his goals and assists tallies for 2011/12 were low but, in my opinion, Dembele has the potential to be United’s powerful, box-to-box answer to Yaya Toure. In my opinion, it is vital that United find a powerful presence in the centre of midfield, someone who could come close to matching Toure’s power and pace; the events of April 30th were, quite frankly, embarrassing, with the United midfield dominated physically by both Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.

Dembele’s tackling success and number of successful dribbles show that he could provide both the defensive influence to disrupt opposition attacks and the driving force to power United forward from the centre of midfield. Yaya Toure is arguably the best box-to-box central midfielder in Europe, but I believe that at United, Dembele, with his physique and skilful play, could flourish into the powerful box-to-box central midfielder that United need, able to drive the team forward and potentially come close to matching Yaya Toure’s influence at the heart of Manchester City’s team.

For more football related tweets follow me on twitter @UnitedJosh


36 responses to “Could Latest Target Become United’s Very Own Yaya Toure?”

  1. Get him the boy is good much better than moutinho

  2. Dougie says:

    Ha ha ha! Please keep it up, it’s brilliant. You want a guy who excelled in a 3-0 defeat vs us to boss your midfield? Go for it!

  3. waxxxxx says:

    i wonder if united stil have a scaout, pleas bring back Carlos Queröz.

  4. Josh says:

    Actually, my aim was to change a few minds about Dembele by dispelling a few myths and fears that United fans had about potentially signing him. That was the main aim of the article, to show what qualities Dembele has and to dispel a few myths. I think he has the potential to be a defensive influence and drive the team forward.

  5. MS says:

    City fans still obsessed with all things United, haven’t they got their own websites to comment on their own team, instead of frequenting our sites. What a sad lot, to see more bluenoses visiting United blogs than they do their own. As I said before, I’m a United fan, and I wouldn’t be seen dead visiting a Wastelanders blog. Anyway back on topic, Dembele is a very good player, and could do a job for United.

  6. Derv07 says:

    I have never read so much drivel in all my life. Dembele is a very decent premiership player, as was Young. Stats dont mean anything, its the influence you have on a game that matters and all of the players you mentioned like Toure, Tiote and Cabaye etc play prominent roles in their teams and influence their results. I’m not saying Dembele wouldnt be better at a better club but United need to strengthen CM with proper CM’s not players that have ‘done a job’. There are plenty of options out there and wouldnt cost a bomb either, Witsel is a good shout as is Nuri Sahin from Madrid.

    Guys, wake up, United are now playing catch up, we need better players than Dembele

  7. Lemzee Ivan says:

    Dembele is a good tough player and i believe tht he can flourish into a very good midfield kingpin with time. On the other hand, comparing him with Moutinho is way over th top, given that Moutinho ahs been in tht position all his life n Dembele has been plyin his trade there for a season or so. He might not be the most influential player in the game, but i think his work in the Fulham midfield deserves gr8 crdit. Believe it or not, i for one think tht he will be a gr8 and cheaper buy for Man United compared to Joao Moutinho, who is also by miles an excellent midfielder. If United are to excell this time around, Dembele could prove to be key to their ambitions. On the issue of Moutinho, age and experience are on his side and yes he would provide a wealth of expertise to the United midfield, alongside the likes of Anderson (if fit), Nani, cleverley, Carick, Giggs, Scholes and Valencia. I dont see Man United faltering this season with either Moussa Dembele or Joao Moutinho or both in their ranks…

  8. shaz says:

    Too much talk,the guy(Dembele) is good and united should get him and i can recall that most utd fans did not give valencia a chance when he first came to utd.That is just the way they are not giving dembele any chance at the moment.

  9. Don Olaniyi says:

    Quite unfortunately that United fans never noticed that our midfield was zero without Scholes.Our midfield was dominated by over 70% of the opponents we played until the return of Scholes.For the title decider in Etihad,Scholes failed to play and Yaya and Silva took over the midfield and Man United lost. Imagine Scholes being supported by giant and creative figure of Dembele,instead of frigile Carrick;what would have happened?Check the strenght of our midfield against Wigan and Bibao then you will realise we need brave,energetic,creative,strong Moussa Dembele.

  10. ChrisW says:

    Dembele definitely seems like the sort of player we need. But it looks like we aren’t interested in him. If we were, wouldn’t we have signed him up already, given that he has only a year left on his contract and so would be available at a reasonable price?

    • Don Olaniyi says:

      Dembele has not shown interest in looking for bigger clubs because he wants to compensate his coach who converted him into a midfielder.Big clubs had shown interest in him but decided to stay put in Fulham.