Moussa Dembele, the quicksilver Fulham centre-forward, has become the main target of Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, as he looks to bolster his misfiring frontline at White Hart Lane.
Indeed, prior to yesterday’s appointment at Craven Cottage of new manager Martin Jol, Spurs had a bid of £10m rejected for the Belgium international, by Fulham owner Mohammed Al Fayed and chief executive Alistair McKintosh.
Dembele, signed from AZ Alkmaar for £5m last August by then Fulham boss Mark Hughes, has become a fan favourite in West London, despite an ankle injury which kept him on the sidelines for three months last season.
The languid striker, with the aesthetically pleasing left-foot and sharp turn of pace, had a big impact in Fulham’s strong end to the season, and was instrumental in Fulham’s FA Cup romp against Spurs also.
Redknapp is keen on bolstering his front-line as he looks to guide Spurs back into contention for Champions League places next season, and also as he attempts to take some silverware to White Hart Lane. Dembele’s technique and clever movement, make him the ideal candidate to link with Spurs more technically-gifted players, the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric.
However, despite his tremendous ability, questions have been asked about his goalscoring instinct, Dembele having only scored three goals in the Premier League, whilst in 118 appearances for Alkmaar, he only hit the back of the net on 24 occasions.
Nevertheless, new Fulham boss Jol, a former Spurs manager himself, would be loathe to lose the talented Belgian, who only turns 24 in July, and has spoken ahead of his first meeting with his squad about his looking forward to working with Dembele in particular.
“I know a lot about the squad I inherited,” Jol said. “I enjoy watching players like Moussa Dembélé, who I have known for a while.”
Redknapp is also believed to be interested in the Internacional and Brazil striker Leandro Damiao, the powerful 21-year-old. Moves for either player could spell the end of Jermain Defoe at White Hart Lane, the England international having become frustrated with his bit-part role last season, and Robbie Keane, who was on-loan at West Ham United for the second half of last season.