Kieran Trippier has hit out at former club Tottenham for sanctioning the sale of Mousa Dembele in January 2019, believing he would have been the “difference between winning a trophy or not”.
Dembele was a regular fixture in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI for the early part of 2018/19 but sustained an ankle injury in November which kept him sidelined until his eventual departure in the winter window of that season.
The industrious Belgian was sold to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F for an £11m fee, with Daniel Levy cashing in on the midfielder before his contract expired at the end of that season, bringing down the curtain on his seven-year stint in north London.
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Spurs coped well without Dembele as they reached the Champions League final that campaign, though of course their league form infamously dipped as they won just three of their final 12 games, and Trippier believes Spurs would have been triumphant in Madrid had the midfielder stuck around.
Trippier told The Athletic: “For me, the big one was selling Mousa Dembele that January. I think I can speak on behalf of the players who were there.
“In the dressing room, he was an unbelievable person and all the lads loved him, but on the pitch he was the kind of player who would make a couple of per cent difference. That’s what wins you things.
“It baffled me that they would sell him. I know he was going to be a free (transfer) in the summer, but with the things we were challenging for, I would have kept him there and then let him go. He was the difference between winning a trophy or not.”
Spurs eventually lost the final 2-0 to Liverpool at Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano, with Pochettino’s men looking jaded and, at times, pedestrian in the Spanish showpiece as goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi settled the score.