Category Archives: Tottenham Hotspur

Who is Alfie Devine? Spurs’ Youngest Ever Player and Goalscorer Profiled

Debuts don’t come much better than Alfie Devine’s for Tottenham in their 5-0 thumping of non-league Marine in the FA Cup on Sunday.

The Warrington born midfielder, who is the son of former St Helen’s rugby player Sean Devine, wasn’t even born when Jose Moutinho was revealed as Chelsea boss in the summer of 2004.

At just 16 years and 163 days Devine broke his first record of the day when he was introduced by Mourinho at half time. His first appearance for the club, with Tottenham already 4-0 up and cruising, made him Spurs’ youngest ever player, overtaking his Under-18 teammate Dane Scarlett, who had held the record since his debut in November.

The second record he broke was the icing on the cake. After receiving a pass from Lucas Moura, the young midfielder cut inside and drilled a low effort inside the near post. His name was again written into the history books, this time as the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.

His huge grin after scoring shows just how much it meant to him, and he more than held his own in his cameo appearance, looking comfortable on the ball and strong in the tackle, attributes familiar to anyone who had watched Devine previously at youth level. The game marked the latest milestone in the creative midfielder’s rapid ascent since joining Tottenham in the summer.

Devine started out in Liverpool’s academy, but was released aged 11 and moved on to Wigan, where he really began to make a name for himself. Given his immense talent, which has been evident from a very young age, Devine’s development at Wigan was fast tracked, so much so that he made his debut for the Latics’ Under-23 side aged only 15.

He really caught the eye last year, as did many of his teammates involved in Wigan’s magnificent FA Youth Cup run which was halted by Manchester United at the quarter final stage. Devine started that game at Old Trafford, having appeared as a late sub in Wigan’s fourth round victory over Tottenham.

He signed a new deal with the club in June of last year, but was sold just a month later as a result of the club going into administration and needing to raise funds. The Athletic reported that Spurs had to tussle with the likes of, “Celtic, Rangers, Leeds, Brighton, West Ham and Chelsea” to secure Devine’s signature, evidently displaying that the midfielder was a wanted man.

They also revealed that whilst it was the club’s head scout who pursued the player, the move was, “rubber stamped by Jose Mourinho, who even went to Devine’s medical in the summer to meet him,” conveying just how highly the Portuguese boss rates the midfielder.

Spurs got their man last July, in a transfer which cost them around £300,000. Despite his young age, the club were keen to fast track at every opportunity, and he trained with the first team during pre season before appearing in friendlies against Ipswich and Reading.

He started with the Under-18s this season, scoring twice and assisting another in seven games before quickly moving up to the Under-23s, scoring on his debut against Derby County. He hit the headlines last month after a nasty challenge on Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater in an Under-23 game, which led to a mass brawl before both he and Drinkwater received their marching orders. He has played four games in total so far for the Under-23s.

That incident with Drinkwater hasn’t deterred Jose Mourinho however, as Devine has been a regular fixture in first team training alongside fellow youngsters Dane Scarlett and Harvey White. Coaches are said to be impressed with both his ability and attitude.

Devine has also caught the eye on the international stage, having represented England regularly at Under-16 level. He played in the Sportchain AGS Cup in December 2019, picking up the player of the tournament.

His former Wigan coach lavished praised on him last year stating:

“Alfie is one of the best players I have worked with; he has a mature head on young shoulders.”

Many Tottenham fans are already drawing comparisons between Devine and the likes of Oliver Skipp, who is currently on loan at Championship side Norwich, and Harry Winks, given his capability of playing as a deep lying playmaker.

His task now will be to establish himself at Under-23 level, and to continue to train well with the first team when presented with the opportunity. Given the condensed nature of this season, he could make his Premier League bow before the season is out and will definitely be in contention for the next FA Cup game depending on the quality of Spurs’ opposition.

The Guardian included Devine in their list of the best 20 talents at Premier League clubs, and on the evidence of his showing in Crosby, it seems justified as there is plenty more to come from the young midfielder.

Should Dele Alli leave Spurs in January?

‘He caused a problem for his own team by giving away possession’.

That is how Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho saw Dele Alli’s performance against Stoke City in the quarter-finals of the Carabo Cup this week after Alli had tried a flick, which ultimately led to The Potters equalising goal through Jordan Thompson.

Speaking after the game, Mourinho added:

“For me a player in that position has to link and create. In that situation, a counterattack would probably end with a goal and they transformed a game that was totally in our hands.  So yes I was upset.”

Alli was subsequently hauled off and replaced by Erik Lamela as part of a double change very soon after that fatal moment.  It seems strange to think though that up to that point the Milton Keynes born midfielder was having a pretty impressive return to the first team. 

The England midfielder did not take too kindly to being substituted, which highlighted the growing rift between both the player and manager. 

It was certainly decision that did not sit right with former Spurs player Jamie O’Hara, who told TalkSport:

“I didn’t like the way Mourinho dug him out and he keeps singling him out.  I think he is doing a great job and he’s got the team all on side but,for me, it doesn’t sit right with the way he keeps digging out Dele Alli.”

Mourinho had selected Alli from the start for the first time in a month long exile from the North London side’s first 11.  It is certainly clear that the midfielder has struggled for games this season having only been involved in 11 matches in all competitions this campaign. 

What is more, he has only scored twice in those games and provided one assist.

This begs the question.  Should Alli be looking for a move in the January Transfer Window?

The short answer is undoubtedly yes. It is clear that Mourinho does not trust him and the 24 year old is not getting the opportunities nor the playing time that he needs at this stage of his career.  

In addition, if Alli has any designs on forcing his way back into the England squad for next summer’s Euros he definitely needs to be starting regularly.

What are his options?

Paris Saint Germain

The first option that immediately comes to mind is last season’s Champions League Finalists Paris Saint Germain.  

They would clearly present Alli with a fresh challenge and an opportunity to thrive in a brand new environment.  

In addition, with the French Champions having just sacked their manager of two and half years Thomas Tuchel, they have been linked with former player and Alli’s ex-manager Mauricio Pochettino, who could be the perfect candidate to reinvigorate the ex- MK Dons man. 

This option, however, does not come without an element of risk as there are talented players already based in Paris already playing in Alli’s position so he would not be always guaranteed a place in the first eleven. 

Inter Milan

Another alternative could be Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.  The Serie A side currently sit second in the table and are just a point behind their Milan rivals.  Conte’s team have also invested a lot in Premier League players in the past year having signed the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young.

Manchester United

Closer to home, meanwhile, Alli could look at a move to Old Trafford and Manchester United.  Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly a keen admirer of the Alli and with the Red Devils still looking at potentially strengthening their attacking options a move to Manchester could be an option.  Again, however, it would not come without an element of risk as United do already have a number of attacking midfielders at the club. 

Arsenal

Finally, somewhat controversially, Alli could look at following Sol Campbell’s example and make the move across North London to fierce rivals Arsenal.  The Gunners are undoubtedly crying out for an attacking midfielder and it is well known that they have struggled for goals this season, having only managed 12 goals so far in the Premier League. 

Where do you think Alli should move to in January? Any of the clubs listed above or perhaps another? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below….

Should Arsenal make a move for Christian Eriksen in January?

Following Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with newly promoted Leeds United on Sunday, it is now seven hours and 56 minutes since the Gunners scored from open play in the Premier League. 

This equates to the North London side’s lowest tally in 34 years, just nine goals in nine games. The failure to score against the leagues’ worst defence must draw concerns for Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff all be it they were playing with ten men for the best part of half an hour. 

In addition, Mikel Arteta’s side have now not scored in four of their last Premier League matches.  Their one goal came in an impressive 1-0 victory at Old Trafford scored from the penalty spot by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

What is a more startling stat, however, is that the North London club now rank among the bottom six teams so far this campaign for chances creation per match in the top flight. 

German international Mesut Ozil, who has not played for Arsenal this season, ended up ranking second on the list of most creative player for the 2019/20 season. Despite only playing 18 games he created 38 chances for his teammates.  

This begs the question whether Ozil should be recalled from his exile or in fact should Arteta go all out to recruit another creative player in the January transfer window?

Arsenal’s Christian Eriksen link?

One former Arsenal player Kevin Campbell has suggested that the Gunners should sign the ‘superb’ ex-Tottenham star Christian Eriksen. 

The 28-year-old Danish attacking midfielder has reportedly asked to leave his current club Inter Milan and could be sold in January according to the Serie A club’s sporting director Giusppe Marotta. 

Marotta told DAZN:

“We do not certainly have to force a player to stay when he asks to leave.”

Indeed, since moving for £17.5 million from Spurs to the San Siro in January of this year, Eriksen has just managed four goals in 33 matches – including none this season. 

Eriksen has also only started three of the club’s eight league matches so far and has been an unused substitute in Inter’s last two matches, including Sunday’s 4-2 win over Torino.  

The attacking midfielder’s contract with Inter Milan runs until 2024, but when asked about his current role with the club Eriksen told TV2:

This isn’t want I dreamed of, 

It is a strange situation, as the fans want to see me playing more and so would I, but the coach has different ideas and as a player I have to respect that.

“I am concentrating on my football, then when the transfer window opens we will see if something happens or not.”

While Inter Milan manager, Antonio Conte said:

“I will not select my team just to please one player.” 

Eriksen’s record with Tottenham

The Denmark midfielder’s record with Tottenham is significantly more impressive as he played more than 300 games for the club and helped Mauricio Pochettino’s side reach the Champions League final back in 2018. 

Overall he scored 69 goals in his 305 games for the club but perhaps more importantly chipped in with 89 assists for his team. 

When asked about the Eriksen speculation, Campbell said: 

“Christian Eriksen played for the rivals but we all know the quality he possesses, that’s for sure.

“It is not quite working out for him at Inter Milan right now and I am sure he would be a good addition to Arsenal’s squad.” 

Do Arsenal need a player like Eriksen?

Truth be told, a team like Arteta’s could certainly do with someone of Eriksen’s talents.  

The Danish playmaker is certainly someone who has that potential to come up with that spark in the final third and picking that pivotal final pass is something that the Gunners clearly lack at the moment.

It is also clear that Eriksen is a player who currently does not fit in with Conte’s plans at Inter Milan and he has struggled so far to get the best out of the Danish international. 

It certainly worked out well for Eriksen first time round in the Premier League for another North London side, could perhaps it do so again?

Let us know what you think Arsenal fans in the comments below, would you be happy to see your side make a move for the Danish international in the January transfer window? 

TOP FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TRANSFERS

Following the closure, or ‘slamming’ of the transfer window late on Monday night for Premier League clubs wishing to buy from abroad, the time is nigh to pick the top five transfers from the bizarre summer of 2020.

Many may have expected a curbed spending prior to the window given the financial landscape and without the prospect of full stadiums on the horizon, although top flight clubs still spent in excess of £1 billion – remarkable.

Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur

The Welsh star has returned to the place that first brought him to the attention of the world in Tottenham Hotspur having spent a strange last 18 months in Madrid.

Bale, who is now 31 years old left north London for Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for a reported £85.3 million fee and enjoy a largely successful spell, including multiple La Liga and Champions League successes. Most of which the athletic forward was an integral part of.

However the last two seasons in particular have seen the Welshman take up a watching brief, perhaps owing to injury and a fallout with the powers that be.

Bale has now resigned for Spurs on loan and despite not playing since his return due to injury, fans across the land will be excited to see the man who was once heralded as amongst the world’s elite playing football again.

Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool

Perhaps the most talked about move of the summer finally came to fruition as defending Premier League champions spent just over £20 million to land their man from Bayern Munich.

The Spaniard has only made one fleeting second half appearance against Chelsea thus far, having since tested positive for Covid-19.

However that 45 minutes and his previous form is enough to convince Reds fans and many others the 29 year old will add plenty of quality to an already packed Liverpool midfield.

The multiple trophy winner has an eye for a pass and dictates plenty of matches and will perhaps provide additional threat to the best team in the land.

James Rodriguez – Everton

Another who hasn’t played a massive amount of football in recent times, however the Columbian forward has certainly hit the ground running in an Everton shirt as the Blues have got off to the perfect start in the Premier League.

The 2012 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner has been in dazzling form since his arrival and linking back up with Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Having signed from Real Madrid with plenty of pedigree, the 29 year old has certainly delivered up to now. With sterner tests to come including the Merseyside derby after the international break – Everton fans will be praying long may it continue.

Thomas Partey – Arsenal

A deadline day arrival at the Emirates after the Gunners had toyed with the idea of the move for some weeks.

Eventually Arsenal met the release clause for the midfielder after much conjecture and perhaps looking at other targets including Houssem Aouar and Jorginho from Chelsea.

The 27 year old arrived on a £45 million deal from Atletico Madrid after suffering a disappointing time in the Spanish capital. Partey is a combative midfielder with lots of ability, who impressed across the two legs in the Champions League quarter finals last season against Liverpool.

Arsenal fans will be looking forward to seeing their new man in action after the international break.

Kai Havertz – Chelsea

The biggest monetary move in the window, Chelsea who were extra busy this summer in terms of incomings, confirmed the signing of one of the hottest properties in European football from Bayer Leverkusen.

Havertz signed for a deal rising up to £71 million and has enjoyed a reasonable start to life in the Premier League without setting the world alight.

The Blues, and Frank Lampard will want and perhaps expect more from the 21 year old, but given time it is extremely likely the Germany international will deliver.

Honourable Mentions

Diogo Jota’s move from Wolves to Liverpool adds additional strength in depth for the champions.

Manchester United landed superstar Edison Cavani on a free on the final day of the window, the Uruguayan has lots of experience and has certainly delivered at the top level.

Domestic Opportunities

Whilst the option to sign from foreign clubs has now ended, Premier League clubs can still sign players from within the UK and there are plenty of possibilities.

Said Benrahma of Brentford is perhaps the most likely to make a move to the top flight, with Crystal Palace and plenty of others reportedly interested in the Algerian forward.

Huddersfield Town striker Karlan Grant is another who has attracted top flight interest.

Premier League clubs would be wise to realistically consider Championship players with the likes of Eberchi Eze and Ollie Watkins both making the step up this term, with success.

Five moves we could still see in the premier league

Despite the difficult financial circumstances cited across football, this summers spending has shown little sign of relenting as numerous clubs continue to splash the cash in search of a successful campaign.

With Premier League clubs spending already surpassing the £750m mark there has certainly not been the reduction many expected. Chelsea have been the biggest spenders to date, the deal to bring Kai Havertz to London from Bayer Leverkusen the largest outlay of the summer.

As the transfer window enters its final week we’ve had a look at the five deals we could still see in the Premier League before the October 5 11.00pm deadline passes.

Jadon SanchoBorussia DortmundManchester United

The Old Trafford clubs interest in the England man has been widely spoken of in recent weeks with the 20 times English champions reportedly having bid of £91.3m rejected by the players club Borussia Dortmund.

With the interest showing no signs of subsiding this is a deal that could run and run, however, earlier in the window Dortmund stated they wouldn’t sell the 20 year old this summer.

Even if they were willing to sell their star, the Yellow & Blacks have set an asking price of over £100m – a fee United have been reticent to even come close to.

Ousmane DembéléBarcelonaManchester United

It’s United again, however, a lot depends on the Sancho deal for this one. Should Ole Gunner Solskjær fail to add his number one target the Norweigan could turn his attention to Barcelona’s Dembele.

The talented French forward has long been linked with a loan move away from the Camp Nou, and United could provide the way out before the deadline.

Dembele is currently not being used at Barca, who boast a wealth of attacking talent, including Ansu Fati – who has surpassed Dembele in the pecking order.

Houssem AouarLyon Arsenal

The Lyon captain impressed plenty in the latter stages of the Champions League as he lead the Ligue 1 side to a famous victory over Manchester City.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is reportedly a huge fan and is desperate to land another midfielder before the window closes next week, with Aouar his number one target.

There has been little movement on the deal to date but there could be time for a late move for the 22 year old.

Rhian Brewster – LiverpoolSheffield United

Much has been made of the prospected future at Liverpool of the goal scoring 20 year old who impressed whilst on loan at Swansea City last season.

Although now it seems with a wealth of high quality players in front of him at Anfield, Brewster’s future may in fact lie elsewhere, with numerous clubs looking at snapping up the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Boot Winner.

Many expected Liverpool to allow the youngster to leave on loan this summer, however it seems a permanent deal with a buy-back clause looks more likely at this moment.

Dele Alli – Tottenham HotspurAnywhere

One time regarded as a pivotal part of the Spurs setup, it seems more and more likely Alli’s future could well be away from he New White Hart Lane.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has seemingly not taken to the attacking midfielder in recent months and has outcast him from almost every matchday squad, including a depleted Carabao Cup line-up this week against Chelsea.

In terms of suitors there are plenty who would benefit from a in form Alli. PSG were linked for a while but nothing has materialised, there could well be a host of Premier League clubs making tentative enquiries before next weeks deadline.