Wilson Palacios: This Tottenham 29-yr-old has improved out of sight since joining, now he is a great
By Harry Sykes
Former Tottenham midfielder Wilson Palacios has hailed Mousa Dembele’s transformation into a “great” player.
Palacios believes the Belgium international has made huge strides since coming under the wing of current manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Dembele, 29, joined Spurs for £15million from Fulham in the summer of 2012 but suffered a series of niggling injuries in his first three seasons, including Pochettino’s first as manager in which the player’s availability was intermittent.
But the central midfielder, who the Argentine coach has lauded as one of the five outstanding talents he has played with or coached in his football career, has been able to take to the pitch more regularly in the last two seasons.
Palacios, who opposed Dembele in midfield during his seven years in the Premier League, is in no doubt about the Belgian’s standing now, or the improvement in his game since making the short journey from west to north London.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“He is a great player and, like Victor, he’s very important for Tottenham,” Palacios told the Spurs matchday programme, as quoted by the club’s official website. “Technically he’s really good – he’s got a lot better since he went from Fulham to Tottenham and over the last couple of seasons especially he’s been fantastic.
“It’s really hard to take the ball away from him because he’s so strong and he uses his body and his legs to protect it.”
Midfield anchorman Palacios, 32, spent three years at Tottenham from 2008 to 2011 after a £12million transfer from Wigan.
He subsequently spent four years at Stoke before a spell in the MLS with Miami and is currently a free agent.
Dembele has been integral to Spurs’ run of six consecutive wins that has kept their title hopes alive, including an outstanding display in Wednesday’s memorable 3-1 triumph at Swansea last week.
Spurs remain seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea despite a series of memorable displays that have demonstrated the team’s improvement this season.
In other Tottenham news, the club have terminated the contract of one of their defenders.