Tottenham midfielder Dembele in a class of his own
Belgium midfielder proving to be vital cog in Tottenham's engine
Mousa Dembele did not join Tottenham Hotspur as a high-profile signing, let alone deal of the season.
Costing exactly half of Luka Modric's £30 million (S$54.9m) sale to Real Madrid, the midfielder looks increasingly like one of football's greatest steals in recent times.
That price tag has already more than repaid itself several times over, as Juventus were held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League Round-of-16 tie.
There is a reason for the admiration for Dembele emanating from the Lilywhites' dressing room first and foremost.
He does not merely run games; he grips them in a sleeper hold.
Yesterday morning (Singapore time), the reigning Serie A champions joined Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in falling to the Belgium international's prowess during the past fortnight.
Breaking down one of Europe's most resolute and impenetrable defences was the sternest challenge that Spurs have faced this season, and yet Dembele took a wrecking ball to it with relative ease.
Massimiliano Allegri's once diligent ranks not only failed to lay a glove on him throughout their encounter, but also found themselves continually tormented by his growing ubiquity.
Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic resembled a toneless busker more than his grand instrumentalist nickname - "the pianist" - when his paltry pass completion statistics were stacked against those of his opposite number.
On either side of the Allianz Stadium pitch, Dembele was streets ahead of everyone on it and made more successful executions behind enemy lines, with 73 to Pjanic's imperfect 10.
Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, too, will be haunted by the events which transpired in Turin.
Memories of being outpaced by Dembele late in the second half threaten to offer the Argentinian far more sleepless nights than an ultimately costly missed penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Leadership often manifests itself in various forms and the headlines undoubtedly belonged to Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen as the goalscorers in Spurs' eventual fightback.
But few players across Europe's top five leagues have combined blistering pace, brute strength and inch-perfect precision as flawlessly as Dembele.
Even Modric, currently struggling with reigning European champions Real, was not in his successor's league.
No doubt sparked by his current Bernabeu woes, the Croatian recently expressed his regret at leaving White Hart Lane under acrimonious circumstances.
Modric is not the only one casting rueful glances at Dembele's continued ascendancy in Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Arsene Wenger will have been looking longingly too - slightly downfield from Kane - at his other one that got away, during Arsenal's North London Derby defeat at Wembley last weekend.
United, previously the last side to deny Juve victory on home soil in the Champions League after racing two goals clear, must also curse their own inability to land Dembele.
Although not one to cede control publicly, Sir Alex Ferguson will rank missing out on the 30-year-old among his greatest transfer failings in an otherwise stellar Old Trafford tenure.
KANE KEEPS ON SCORING
Spurs also have another player who stayed out of the Red Devils' clutches to thank for keeping their hopes of remaining in the Champions League's knockout stage intact.
Kane has already set a new mark in recording nine goals from his first nine games in the continent's elite club competition.
In doing so, he comfortably surpassed both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as well as breached a Juventus side that until yesterday did not concede a goal in 2018.
With key figures in such emphatic form, Pochettino can continue to dream big in Europe.