By Wayne Veysey

19th Apr, 2018 | 2:12pm

Wiped-out Tottenham mainstay reportedly wants to quit, this would be much worse than losing Toby

By Richard Parks

Mousa Dembele is one player Tottenham just can’t afford to lose.

But that is now the harsh reality for the club amid widespread reports this week that the brilliant Belgian is ready to end his Spurs career this summer and head to China.

The Independent claim the Spurs midfield kingpin is expected to leave at the end of the season, when he will have just 12 months remaining on his contract.

So, how has it come to this? Why is a mainstay of the team for the last six years, who delivered one of the all-time great Champions League displays only two months ago in the 2-2 draw against Juventus in Turin heading for the exit door?

Dembele is, quite simply, wiped out. By the physical and mental requirements of playing in centre midfield in the Premier League for one of the most demanding managers implementing one of the most demanding systems in world football.

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The Independent report that Dembele is coming to the realisation after eight seasons in English football that “it is time to leave”.

Anyone watching the Belgian deliver masterclasses against Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in recent months would be staggered to learn that he has had enough.

But that fails to take into account Dembele’s age – he turns 31 in July – and how many miles he has on the clock following a professional career that began in his native Belgium aged 16.

Naturally, he is also attracted by the possibility of a lucrative contract in China, where the demands on his body will not be comparable with the English top flight.

The Belgian’s combination of power, technical brilliance and effortless ability to glide past opponents is irreplaceable.

Spurs are already faced with losing Toby Alderweireld this summer following a contract row that shows no signs of being resolved.

But at least Mauricio Pochettino already has a replacement for the outstanding centre-back in Davinson Sanchez.

There is no such fall-back in place for Dembele, who is simply irreplaceable.

In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed that the club have been handed a stunning £52million windfall.

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