This ship is going down, cap’n
If you watched Amazon’s documentary about Tottenham’s last season, you’ll be aware that Jose Mourinho doesn’t fancy Dele Alli. Not one bit. Dele is “fucking lazy” in training, Dele needs a heart-to-heart in the gaffer’s office to remind him to carpe the fucking diem, Dele must be patient.
Dele started against Royal Antwerp last night – another opportunity to prove Mourinho wrong – and he was one of Spurs’ worst players in the first half (a large field, to be fair). He didn’t make it as far as the second half, because Jose hooked him. Steven Bergwijn, Gio lo Celso and Carlos Vinicius were also subbed off at half-time in Antwerp, so it’s not as if the Tottenham manager is targeting Alli. But it’s not the first time Dele has started a game for Spurs this season and been replaced at half-time. The same thing happened against Everton in the opening game of the season.
Knowing Mourinho as we do, he’ll be busting a gut to get Dele out of the club in the next window, even if it’s a loan deal. Incredibly for a player who hasn’t done much for several seasons, Alli’s still worth a lot of cash. According to transfermarkt, his current value is £46m, which seems a good £15-20m too high to me, but still, is a lot of money for a player whose career has basically stalled – it’s probable he won’t be in England’s Euro 2020 squad, for example.
I want Dele to thrive but a picture is developing of a naturally gifted player who lacks maturity, mental strength, intelligence even. Worse than those flaws, though, I suspect that he also lacks the obsessive hunger that marks out the best players. I think he enjoys the perks of being a professional footballer – the limelight, the salary, the nice cars, the free sliders, a friendship with Eric Dier – and it sort of ends there. No matter how talented you are, those are some basic hurdles to get over, and at 24, Alli should have overcome them by now. If not now, when?