Opinion: It’s time for Spurs to move on from Dele Alli

“We got Alli, Dele Alli, I just don’t think you understand. He only costs 5 mil, he’s better than Ozil, we got Dele Alli.”

Since the 2015/2016 season, Tottenham fans have gleefully sung their appreciation for the player Dele has been for this club.

50 goals and 37 assists from 169 Premier League appearances, reaching 50 goals in fewer appearances and at a younger age than England greats such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

There is no doubt, that on his best day, Dele Alli is virtually unplayable. His ability to make something out of nothing, like his famous goal vs Crystal Palace, or his ability to get under opponents’ and their supporters’ skin (see Chelsea away 2018) is unmatched; he is a true generational talent.

Unfortunately, Dele’s decline has been significant and it’s worth asking the question, is it time to move on from Dele in the summer?

One reason I believe that it is time to move on from Dele in the summer is his form over the past two seasons has been well below what he is currently paid and expected to produce.

In October 2018, Dele signed a new contract worth £100k per week, making him a top-five earner on the squad. In fact, at the time he was earning more than Eriksen, Sonny, Dembele and is currently earning the same as our captain, Hugo Lloris.

Since he signed his contract, he has produced 13 goals and 8 assists in 62 appearances. In the past two seasons, he has produced 8 goals and 5 assists.

Simply put, this is nowhere near good enough for the fifth highest-paid player in our squad, especially when you consider we have a club whose board rarely forks out wages that are comparable to the top teams.

Contract aside, if you are looking for a leader on this team, or to have Dele play in that number 10 role, are these numbers acceptable enough to continue to back the player?

You can have your opinions on Jose’s man management of Dele, however, he did have a point when he not so subtly claimed that Dele needed to give more for the team. He never grew into the leadership role that he was expected to take on, albeit at a young age.

His contract combined with his subpar production in relation to the leadership and positional role expected of him is a big reason as to why it would be wise to cash in on Dele’s value this summer.

Another reason I believe that we should move on from Dele in the summer is the market will respond positively to his availability.

Dele is still a relatively young, homegrown player that every team not named Manchester City in the Premier League and almost every big club abroad would be dying to sign.

He has the undeniable talent to produce on a consistent basis, he just needs to find that spark again. Although not worth the £100 million that he was at age 22, Transfermarkt still rates Dele as a £29 million player.

Now, as Spurs fans, we know that the one aspect of having Daniel Levy as chairman of your club is that he is an incredibly difficult and persistent negotiator, especially when it comes to selling off in-demand players.

So, while the market value for Dele is currently at £29 million, there is no doubt in my mind that Daniel will be able to increase that fee to £40 million and perhaps more.

Plus, since Dele is a homegrown player, if he moves to another Premier League club, his value skyrockets substantially as he will be a player to help a club meet their homegrown quota.

Even if we could only get £35 million for Dele, that will allow us to immediately reinvest that money into the squad and pay for a name like Marcel Sabitzer.

Our very own Alasdair Gold admitted that Tottenham will make a push for Sabitzer this summer, whose contract is up next year and keen on a move to the Premier League.

This will immediately upgrade our starting 11 and allow us to play more attacking football, a valid criticism of this current team’s playing style.

Selling Dele while he still has value, in a post-pandemic market that will force clubs to find creative ways to improve their roster will play right into Levy’s hands and provide the best opportunity for Dele to move on to another club to jumpstart his career.

If we wait another year, there is a chance that his performances will never recover and his value will plummet, causing the club to miss out on millions.

The final reason I believe that it is time to move on from Dele is a broader indictment of the squad’s stagnation as a whole. This current Spurs squad is bloated and lacks a spark proving that it is time for a rebuild.

The squad is dull, lacks ambition and is comfortable in their day to day training. No one feels like their spot is being challenged for and this complacency has allowed for stagnation, which directly translates in our matches.

This is the perfect time to move on players that have hit a wall, bring in new talent to refresh the squad and create a competitive environment within the club.

Unfortunately, Dele is an example of a player that has hit a wall and does not exude a hunger to fight for his place in the squad.

When Dele burst onto the scene, he was often labelled a hot-head and his on-pitch antics sometimes got him in trouble. However, this passion and ability to get under the opponent’s skin also made him a world-class player.

This was the fuel that drove Dele. Unfortunately, he has lost this edge as he has matured. The best way to gain this back is a change of scenery.

This change of scenery will force him to focus on his football, get back to the Dele that every Spurs fan fell in love with and every opposing team hated.

For Tottenham, we can use these funds transfer to bring in new players to challenge a squad full of unmotivated players.

There are very few players that epitomise the Tottenham way better than Dele Alli. A player who consistently provided moments of brilliance and attacked with finesse that very few players can replicate.

However, with all players, there comes a point in time when it is in the best interest of the club and the player to move on.

My disappointment in not being able to watch Dele lift a trophy is mitigated by my sincere gratitude, knowing that we were able to have this generational talent play for our badge and our club.

So, while it is a less than ideal ending to Dele’s time at Tottenham, I thank him for being a vital part of bringing pride back into this club. He made us proud to be Spurs supporters and that pride can never be replaced, no matter when he ends up next season.

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