Dele Alli, once dubbed ‘the next Ronaldinho’, spent the last two years at Tottenham Hotspur under three separate managers, failing to impress none of the trio. Alli shone under Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino, most notably scoring on 22 occasions over 50 games during the 2016/17 campaign.
Alli contributed 30 goals thereafter until the decision to remove Pochettino from his role was finalised by Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy, proving to be the catalyst of Alli’s downfall. England manager Gareth Southgate put his faith in Dele Alli, selecting the midfielder to start in both Quarter and Semifinals at the 2018 Russia World Cup, since then Alli has failed to make the squad for any major tournaments.
After Pochettino was sacked, Alli played under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho, a partnership that many dubbed a match made in heaven. During Mourinho’s first game Dele impressed both fans and the manager alike, contributing to Tottenham’s victory over West Ham. However, the feel-good factor didn’t last long.
Through Amazon Prime’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary, cameras were focused on Alli’s unresponsive attitude in training under Mourinho, leading to an intense conversation with the Portuguese manager highlighting regret.
Two years down the line, still struggling, Dele Alli completes a deal to sign for Everton on a 4 year deal following the appointment of Frank Lampard. For Everton, the acquisition was A low-risk, big-name signing with the potential to provide for the team or to be sold for a profit.
Frank Lampard believed he was the right man to turn the trajectory of Alli’s career back around, securing a deadline day deal, the reported upfront payment to Spurs was a free transfer with staggered payments depending on a certain performance-based appearance threshold.
Frank Lampard started Dele Alli just one time in the 2021/22 season, featuring on the final day against Arsenal. The downfall of Alli has regularly been labelled as a product of sub-par attitude, displaying the very statement of Jose Mourinho back in 2020 – and it was no different at Everton. Frequently, Alli was seen coming on as a substitute in games as Everton looked to stave off relegation threats but Alli was not the figure to provide a cutting-edge
It was in Everton’s relegation decider against Crystal Palace that Alli decided to show his guns, brought on by Lampard as a substitute at half-time, winning nine duels, Although not direct goal contributions, Alli managed to guide the team to turn around the two-goal deficit and complete the escape, in one of Everton’s worst recorded seasons.
Over the past year, he is only in the second percentile for total shots, assists and non-penalty goals, proving his decline in creative ability. Although a disappointing season for him and Everton, the club looked to have put their faith in Alli and would continue for the future. Alli even reportedly recorded his highest ever fitness levels in pre-season as he prepared for the upcoming campaign, scoring twice in a friendly against Blackpool.
However, as Everton’s FFP struggles continued, the opportunity to make a profit on a player that provided little to no input was too good to turn down, with the club desperate to balance the books. Besiktas completed the signing of Dele Alli on an initial season-long loan with a buy option of £6 million in January and £8 million in June, depending on whether the Turkish giants decide to activate the clause. Everton are reported to be paying 50% of the player’s wages.
As for Alli, a loan switch highlights the rapid decline of his career, playing Turkish football at the age of 26 doesn’t exactly represent a player that’s living up to their highest potential. However, the warm welcome of Besiktas fans could provide Alli with the confidence he needs to kick start his career, unfortunately at this point it looks very unlikely Dele Alli will return to the player he was just three years ago.
By: Adam McNulty / @adamEFCDM
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images