Dele Alli has been retained by Tottenham despite the offer of a loan deal from Paris St-Germain while it has emerged that Giovani Lo Celso will be out for at least a further three weeks because of a hamstring injury.
Lo Celso was forced off during the 2-0 home defeat against Leicester on 20 December and it has been clear for some time that the problem is complicated. José Mourinho is now resigned to being without the midfielder for the majority of this month and the fear is that it could be longer than that.
Lo Celso’s injury was a factor in Spurs’s reluctance to loan out Alli, as was the difficulty in signing a replacement for him during the mid-season window.
Mourinho has not relied upon Alli this season, starting him in only one Premier League game – the opening weekend defeat by Everton when he substituted him at half-time. He has also used him three times in the competition off the bench and, although there have been greater opportunities in the domestic cups and Europa League, it has not been enough to stop Alli from considering a new challenge.
The 24-year-old was tracked by PSG last summer and a switch to the French champions became even more attractive when Mauricio Pochettino, the manager under whom he thrived at Spurs, took charge there last month.
Mourinho is understood to have been open to allowing Alli to depart on loan but not at the expense of leaving his squad one player short. A replacement would have needed to be sourced but that was always likely to be difficult, particularly as funds were tight after the addition of seven new players last summer.
The former Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen was made available by Internazionale but that, too, was always going to be a difficult deal to complete. There has been no market for Alli to be sold permanently or loaned with an obligation to buy.
Spurs have cited a tendon injury to explain Alli’s absence from the squad in recent weeks and the question is whether Mourinho will be happy to have him for the remainder of the season and if he can reintegrate him.
Mourinho made headlines when he took over at Spurs in November 2019 and asked Alli whether it was him or his brother that he could see. The piece of kidology sparked the player into a burst of form – he scored five goals in seven appearances – and Mourinho picked him regularly until football’s shutdown last March. But Alli’s overall trends have been downwards since he was a key part of the England team at the 2018 World Cup.
Mourinho said at the start of January that after the club’s “big effort in the summer to try and build a good squad” he did not “feel the right to ask for something” in the winter window. But ask he did and the inability to resolve the Alli situation to his satisfaction has grated.
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Spurs ended their loan arrangement with Benfica for Gedson Fernandes, with the Portuguese club redirecting him to Galatasaray for the remainder of the season. Fernandes signed an 18-month loan at Spurs in January 2020 but failed to make an impact. The logistics of a move to Turkey were complicated by the player having recently tested positive for Covid-19. It was reported in Turkey that Fernandes had travelled there by ambulance plane to complete the deal.
Spurs recalled the 18-year-old striker Troy Parrott from his loan at Millwall in the Championship and sent him back out to Ipswich in League One but there was no deadline day move for the frozen out Danny Rose, who remains under contract until June.