Tottenham sell Dembele, Leeds sign Casilla

LONDON (AP) – Tottenham has sold midfielder Mousa Dembele to Chinese Super League side Guangzho R&F, and second-tier club Leeds has signed goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid to help its push for promotion.

The 31-year-old Dembele played a prominent role in Tottenham’s resurgence under Mauricio Pochettino but he would have been out of contract at the end of the season. Dembele, who was part of the Belgium squad that finished third at the World Cup, signed a three-year deal in China.

Dembele joined Spurs from Fulham in 2012 and made 250 appearances, but had not played since November 3 last year due to an ankle injury.

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen said, “sometimes it made me angry a bit that people talked about the best midfielders in the Premier League and haven’t named Mousa, but I feel like he got that appreciation over the last two years.”

The 32-year-old Casilla has signed for northern English club Leeds on a four-and-a-half-year contract as Marcelo Bielsa’s first signing of the January transfer window. He was the backup goalkeeper at Real Madrid and will compete for a starting place at Leeds with Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Will Huffer.

Leeds is trying to return to the topflight after a 15-year absence.

“My desire is to help put the club in its real place in the Premier League,” Casilla said.

The transfer came a day after Bielsa admitted to watching all of his opponents’ training sessions before their matches this season. Bielsa is being investigated by football authorities for sending a member of his club’s staff to spy on Derby County in its training session ahead of a match against Leeds in the second-tier League Championship last week.