Far be it from me to undermine David “Diddy” Hamilton’s enthusiastic welcome on Sunday but just who is Dembélé? Being that he’s a Premier League newbie I’ve had to scour the internet for some clues. The basics have been covered in various press releases; young, Belgian international striker who joins us from the Eredivisie where he played for Willem II Tilburg and AZ Alkmaar. But is he any good?
Before Sunday, he had made 209 total appearances for 3 clubs (his first year as a professional footballer was spent at Germinal Beerscholt) and scored 43 goals, just under 1 goal every 5 games. That’s not dreadful but actually, in his first 2 seasons he only scored 2. But he was 16. Before he was poached by the bigger boys, Moussa had a pretty successful season at Willem II, scoring 10 goals in 39 appearances. By comparison, Zoltan Gera scored that many in 46 games – and he was our Player of the 2009/10 Season. Anyway… Arguably Dembélé’s most successful season was 2006/07 where he scored 13 goals in 53 appearances helping AZ Alkmaar reach third in the Eredivisie and the final of the KNVB (Dutch) Cup, in which he scored AZ’s only open-play goal (AZ lost 7-8 on penalties).
It’s a little harder to find any up-to-date statistics on Dembélé’s international career as Wikipedia doesn’t seem to go past November 2009, by which point he’d earned 28 caps and scored 5 goals, and the offical website of the Belgian FA wouldn’t load. The most interesting thing I found about that is that the Belgian national team’s nickname is the Red Devils. Oh the irony.
I did manage to find some videos demonstrating what an impressive left foot the boy’s got. Have a look at this one.
He may not be the most prolific striker ever but then what do you expect for £5m? The key thing is that he’s young, he’s experienced at a high level and, judging by glimpses we saw on Sunday, he’s got good technique. That can all be built on to produce a great all-round player. Speaking of Sunday, I thought he made some good passes and seemed to link up well with Zamora and Davies. Fortunately the Guardian chalkboards back me up on this: