Dele Alli remains a Tottenham Hotspur player.
The 24-year-old midfielder was the saga of the winter transfer window as his future in north London was in doubt amid interest from former manager Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain.
It’s thought that a loan move to the French capital fell through at the final hurdle as Spurs couldn’t secure a replacement, though this now leaves Jose Mourinho with plenty to ponder.
His side have hit a wall with their recent form, back-to-back defeats in the Premier League have cast uncertainty over whether or not the perennial underachievers can break their trophy hoodoo.
They still remain in all cup competitions, in which there’s a Carabao Cup final to come, but having held the lead in the English top-flight just a few months ago, it now looks a hard ask to break into the top four.
Surely Alli can still play a major part?
He’s only featured for a total of 472 minutes in all competitions this campaign, but it’s time for Mourinho to make a major U-turn on him.
According to the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick, Giovani Lo Celso is set to miss the whole of this month, and a return in March is by no means certain and whilst some fans are clamouring for the involvement of Carlos Vinicius in the absence of Harry Kane, he’s not necessarily the answer.
Across matches against Liverpool and Brighton – those two successive defeats – Mourinho’s men have combined for an xG of 0.47. By comparison, they had 1.28 against Sheffield United, 3.14 versus Fulham and 2.53 at home to Leeds, via Understat.
It would be easy to point the finger at Kane’s injury, but the defeat to the Seagulls highlighted a creative problem.
As per SofaScore, Spurs failed to create any big chances and managed only three shots inside Brighton’s penalty box – nearly four times fewer than the home outfit. Perhaps they were unlucky to only win by one goal.
Tanguy Ndombele, who has become a regular starter under Mourinho this season, hasn’t delivered an assist in nine straight league outings, only further highlighting the lack of creativity behind the frontline.
So even if Vinicius leads the line against Chelsea tomorrow night, there is no guarantee that he will successfully deliver as the likes of Heung-min Son and Gareth Bale – two seasoned stars in the Premier League – are barely getting any service themselves.
This is where Alli has a shot at redemption. In his last appearance, albeit against non-league Marine, he ran the show as you can read here.
The £36m-rated attacking midfielder provided at least seven assists across three successive top-flight campaigns between 2015 and 2018, and has a career average of 1.6 key passes per 90, via WhoScored.
Now that Alli is staying in N17 for the time being, he must be unleashed and given a fair crack of making a difference – starting with their arch-rivals tomorrow evening.
Only in November did the Spurs boss laud the out-of-favour star as a “team player,” which perhaps makes his constant exclusion even more baffling.
So forget Vinicius, Mourinho must start Alli vs Chelsea.