Tag Archives: Jose Mourinho

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….

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.

Sergio Regulión completes Spurs Transfer: Who is the Spanish Left Back?

Tottenham have announced the signing of Real Madrid’s Sergio Regulión.

The defender arrived in North London for €30 million (£27.5 million) on a five year deal, with Spurs winning the race to secure the signature of the highly rated Spaniard ahead of Premier League rivals Man United, who also held a strong interest in the left back.

The Red Devils were looking to strengthen their options at left back and saw Reguilón, who had a successful spell on loan at Sevilla last year, as the ideal candidate to compete with Luke Shaw for a starting berth.

The stumbling block for United was Real Madrid’s insistence on including a buy back clause in the deal, whilst Los Blancos also wanted a payment of €30 million up front, with United only willing to do a deal of €20 million plus add ons.

Their hesitance allowed Spurs to swoop in, with the Lilywhites accepting a buy back clause active for two years, believed to be in the region of €45 million depending on various incentives, according to the Guardian.

Regulión is an attack minded full back who joined Real Madrid’s La Fabrica academy at the age of eight and worked his way up through the various youth ranks.

He got his first taste of senior football in 2015 when he was loaned out to Segunda Division B outfit UD Logroñés for the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign. He featured sparingly, making just nine appearances before returning for a more successful loan spell the following season.

He played 30 games as a more advanced left winger and scored eight goals, establishing himself as a regular in the third division.

On his return to Madrid, he featured heavily in the Castilla side, signing a new contract in 2018 after catching the eye, before new boss Julen Lopetegui promoted him to the first team for pre season ahead of the 2018-19 season.

He made his debut in October 2018, starting in a 3-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League before making his league debut in a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid the following month.

He would go on to register a further 11 appearances for Los Blancos, as Marcelo’s form dipped, but the return of Zidane as manager slowed his progress.

Frenchman and fellow left back Ferland Mendy was brought in from Lyon to replace the ageing Marcelo, pushing Regulión down the pecking order given Mendy’s terrific form for Los Blancos.

A reunion with Lopetegui at Sevilla for the 2019-20 campaign allowed Regulión to get regular minutes at the highest level, and he certainly grasped that chance.

He enjoyed an impressive season, featuring in 31 games, scoring twice as Los Palanganas finished fourth in La Liga. He also played a key role in helping them to win the Europa League for the third time in the last five years.

Regulión is made very much in the mould of a modern full back, sound defensively but devastating driving forward. He created 40 chances in the 2019-20 season, the fourth best in Europe’s top five leagues for full backs under the age of 23.

This is an interesting stat considering this was the Spaniard’s first full campaign at the highest level.

He was named in the Europa League team of the season and won his first cap for Spain in the recent international break, starting in the Nations League victory over Ukraine.

He will certainly be an upgrade on Spurs’ current options at left back, Welshman Ben Davies who is solid yet unspectacular, particularly going forward and the engimatic Danny Rose, who has been told to train with the Under 23s after returning from a loan spell at Newcastle.

Real Madrid’s insistence on including a buy back clause highlight that they value Regulion’s clear potential, and don’t want to lose him forever.

They may well exercise the clause if he impresses in London, as he could be the ideal heir to replace Mendy in a few years, with the Frenchman already 25 and often struggling with niggling injuries.

The buy back clause could be a cause for concern for Tottenham, but in the short term (and Mourinho is well known for making signings for the here and now) it represents a good deal for Spurs as they look to transform an ageing squad, which has grown stale with a lack of signings in recent seasons.

Like Doherty on the right, Regulión will be tasked with being a creative outlet on the left, linking up with Son and putting in crosses for Kane to attack. He will also be asked to do his bit defensively, and working under a defensive minded coach like Mourinho would no doubt aid this part of his game.

He may need some time to adapt to the physicality and speed of the Premier League, but for a player with a good injury record and such great potential he should shine in England.

Liverpool have shown the significance of attacking, mobile full backs in the modern game and the combination of Doherty and Regulión should excite Tottenham fans as much as the pairing of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold on Merseyside.

POCH OUT, JOSE IN AT SPURS

Tottenham’s poor start to the season has resulted in Mauricio Pochettino losing his job. It was not long ago that Pochettino was one of the most admired and sought after managers in the business, yet now he has been sacked by Spurs despite being heavily linked with the Real Madrid managers’ position in the summer – following his success in guiding The Lilywhites to the Champions League Final. His achievements speak for themselves; when he took over Spurs were a Top 4 outsider, he turned them into the closest challengers to Liverpool, Man City and Leicester for the premiership title. All whilst developing young players and playing attractive attacking football. It comes as no surprise to me that he is already being linked with another top job as Bayern Munich are reportedly interested as are Real Madrid once more.

What went wrong?

Tottenham’s success was considered more remarkable due to the fact Lucas was their only signing over 2 transfer windows. But this created a togetherness and team spirit which were key elements in reaching the illusive Champions League final. This summer this changed with money being spent on new players, existing players linked with moves away and Pochettino himself linked with other clubs. Bringing players in with the aim of building on what he had already done was what it seemed Spurs needed. But with players like Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld seemingly seeking moves away it all added up to less cohesion and team spirit than beforehand.

Tottenham became one of my favourite sides to watch under his management and I fear this could change under the new man in control. José Mourinho is renowned for defensive football or “parking the bus” as it has been referred to as and this is the complete opposite of Pochettino. He likes 2 defensive midfielders whose prime focus is to protect the back 4; this could result in Eric Dier being brought back into the team in place of Harry Winks – despite his recent success in the International break for England. His wide players in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation need to track back which for me casts further doubts on Eriksen’s future at the club. However one thing that Mourinho always seems to do is win trophies and that is the one thing Spurs under Poch didn’t do, so the question is whilst they might not be as entertaining or attacking if they win a trophy will this be forgiven?

Do you think Mourinho is a good replacement for Pochettino?