‘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.
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.
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.
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….