Why Tottenham decided to keep Dele Alli

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BY ROB GUEST

Speculation over Dele Alli’s Tottenham future can be put to bed for the time being at least following the closure of the January transfer window.

Tipped to depart Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last month after falling way down the pecking order at the club, the 24-year-old will now remain in north London for the rest of the campaign following talk of a Paris Saint-Germain switch.

The news has certainly gone down well with Tottenham fans and all will be hoping that he can rediscover his form under Jose Mourinho.

Appearing to be edging back towards his very best in pre-season with some good displays, many expected the Alli of old to return in time for the big kick-off in September.

Handed a starting spot in the opening day game against Everton, the former MK Dons star was hooked at the half-time break and has only featured in three league games off the bench since then.

An unused substitute in three of Tottenham’s 20 Premier League games so far, what is rather concerning is that Mourinho has left him out of the matchday squad on the 13 other occasions when they’ve played in the league.

Linked with a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain prior to the summer transfer deadline, talk of a deal to take him to the French capital went into overdrive at the turn of the year when Mauricio Pochettino replaced Thomas Tuchel in the hotseat.

Getting the best out of him in N17 after bringing him to Tottenham all the way back in 2015, the hope was that the Argentine could do exactly the same after a frustrating past few months for the player with Euro 2020 on the horizon this summer.
The Ligue 1 club were certainly interested in a deal to bring him to the Parc des Princes and were in contact with Tottenham over a potential switch.

Mourinho was keen to let Alli go and Spurs had even looked at a potential loan move for the player in an attempt to see him return to form and rediscover his spark.

A permanent move away was always going to be unlikely in January, however, due to the nature of the transfer window with the vast majority of club’s having a lack of available money due to what’s happened across the globe over the past 10 months.

Cashing in on the player in a cut-price deal wouldn’t have made any sense prior to deadline day, especially as the player’s value would quiet easily soar once back at the top of his game.

As the days ticked down to deadline day, a move away for the player always seemed less and less likely.

Dele Alli has only featured in four Premier League games for Tottenham this season(Image: Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Spurs would have needed to bring in a replacement for Alli on loan but that was always going to be problematic due to their issue with the number of non-homegrown players they currently have in the squad.

Having three more than the 17 permitted foreign players in the Europa League prior to Gedson Fernandes and Paulo Gazzaniga’s exit, in an ideal world the club would have needed to bring in a homegrown player if Alli had been given the green light to move to Paris.

Christian Eriksen was even linked with a sensational return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on loan one year on from his move to Inter Milan, but a deal would have only added to the foreign player issues Mourinho currently has to try and address.

What certainly didn’t help matters either for Alli was Giovani Lo Celso’s hamstring injury sustained prior to Christmas against Leicester City.

Still not clear as to when he will be back in action for Tottenham, Spurs simply couldn’t have let Alli depart and not brought in a replacement as that would have left them extremely light in the position at such a crucial stage in the season.
Alli, who has a small tendon injury at present, may be out of favour with Mourinho but all it would take is for Tanguy Ndombele to pick up an injury and the ex-MK Dons man would likely be back in the team with Lo Celso currently on the sidelines.

The above factors in the end saw Alli’s hopes of a Pochettino reunion in Paris come to an end and now he has to find a way back into the Tottenham side as they look for a strong finish to the season.

There is a belief among many at Tottenham that he can still play a part in the remainder of the campaign and hopefully that will be the case with silverware up for grabs.

While talk of a switch to PSG has ended for now with the winter market shut for business, if he continues to watch on from the sidelines under Mourinho between now and May then talk of a move to France will only get louder and louder prior to the summer transfer window opening.

It’s a big few months coming up in Alli’s Tottenham career and what goes on between now and the end of the season may give a big indication as to what the future holds for the player.

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