COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Mousa Dembele has left a huge void in Tottenham’s midfield at the start of the 2016/17 Premier League.
The Belgian central midfielder has been unavailable to Mauricio Pochettino as he completes a six-game ban carried over from last season.
Dembele, 29, will serve the last game of his suspension against Stoke on Saturday but will be available against Monaco in the Champions League, and can make his his first league start days later at home to Sunderland.
Victor Wanyama moved to White Hart Lane this summer and has settled well at his new club, scoring a winning goal against Crystal Palace. However, he should be the unfortunate player to make way as Dembele returns.
Spurs operate with two midfielders in front of the defence and Dembele formed a strong partnership with Englishman Eric Dier last season.
Dembele is likely to feature in the club’s strongest XI and his powerful and dominating style has been a notable miss from the club’s opening few games.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has urged Spurs to recall Dembele to the starting line-up once his suspension ends and claimed they have missed his “authority”.
With Spurs competing in European and domestic competitions this season, they will need the full strength of their squad so Wanyama will remain important.
Spurs picked up 1-1 draws against Everton and Liverpool either side of their Palace victory, but have been some way off the high standards they are used to under Pochettino.
Frenchman Moussa Sissoko joined Spurs this summer but is likely to compete with attack-minded players Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela for a starting position.
The familiarity between Dembele and Dier may give them the edge to continue their on-field relationship in place of Wanyama, but Spurs are blessed with three talented options.
Dembele has made 158 appearances for Spurs since joining from Fulham, scoring nine goals and supplying nine assists.
In other Tottenham team news, Jamie Rednkanpp has hailed one of the club’s stars as one of the best in a long time.