Moussa Dembele continues to impress in cosmopolitan attack at Fulham

At former club AZ Alkmaar, Moussa Dembele scored a goal of such beauty that a Dutch commentator professed that it was like “when Jesus walked on water.” At the forefront of a gifted generation of Belgian footballers that includes the likes of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Vermaelen, Dembele is currently earning rave reviews under Martin Jol at Fulham.

Signed by Mark Hughes in a £5m deal from AZ Alkmaar in August 2010, Dembele was one of Eredivisie’s brightest talents and instrumental in AZ’s 2009 championship winning side. Impressing in a forward line that also featured Brazilian Ari and former Spurs forward Mounir El Hamdaoui, Dembele made an instant impact on his arrival at Craven Cottage.

Making his debut against Manchester United, he scored in his first start for the club, the second of six goals in a 6-0 rout of Port Vale in the Carling Cup. In his first league start he provided two assists in a 2-2 draw with Blackpool, he also bagged a brace in a 2-1 win over Wolves, in a game where Bobby Zamora broke his leg. With Andy Johnson also a long term absentee, Dembele was subsequently deployed up front and struggled to compensate for Fulham’s lack of firepower.

With only six goals to his name thus far, Dembele needs to emulate the goal scoring exploits of teammate Clint Dempsey if he is to fulfil his undoubted potential. He recently revealed that this is a side of his game that he has been working on with Jol, explaining: “My thinking has changed somewhat. I shoot much more on target. The Fulham coach says that I’m evolving, in the past, I could have gone four games and not taken a shot at goal. That no longer happens. Each match I shoot four times. I have also scored. Not enough, I know, but it will come.

Jol has been effusive in his praise for Dembele in the past, claiming: “I think Dembele could develop into one of the best. He’s better on the ball than any other number 10s I know. Dembele gives us an extra dimension.

With beautiful close control and great upper body strength, it is proving very difficult for opposing players to relieve Dembele of possession. He is also not averse to the odd mazy run, as demonstrated by his superb solo effort against Tottenham last season, receiving the ball in midfield before embarking on goal and smashing the ball past Heurelho Gomes. Dembele has produced some of his most impressive displays against Harry Redknapp’s men and has been linked with a £10m move to White Hart Lane. Commenting on the speculation, Dembele revealed: “It would obviously be a step higher, and that has always been my goal.

Fulham currently boast some of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking talent, with fellow Eredivisie export Bryan Ruiz beginning to acclimatise to English football, the emergence of Kerim Frei and the continued excellence of Dempsey. Dembele has developed a good understanding with Zamora and whether or not they hold on to their target man and Johnson may define their season. 14th in the table, but two points off ninth, emulating last term’s impressive eighth place finish remains a possibility, as Moussa Dembele continues to impress in Fulham’s cosmopolitan attack.

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