Tottenham Hotspur may have stumbled across the second coming of a former player this summer.
One of the first deals the north Londoners completed during the transfer window was a £300k swoop for young Wigan Athletic prospect Alfie Devine with the League One club suffering major financial troubles.
The 16-year-old was part of the Latics squad that defeated Spurs in the FA Youth Cup last season and was once on the books at Premier League champions Liverpool.
He could well become the next young midfielder to grace N17 following in the footsteps of Paul Gascoigne, Glenn Hoddle and Dele Alli.
This week, the England youth international was named in the Guardian’s ’20 best talents at Premier League clubs’ list where he is noted as an “imposing box-to-box” midfielder.
Devine has already earned minutes for Jose Mourinho’s first-team in pre-season and looks a cut above at U18 level having bagged an assist on debut against West Ham’s U18s.
He will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the aforementioned trio of Spurs greats if he continues his upward career trajectory, though there’s perhaps a more familiar name that hits home – Scott Parker.
Now a boss at Fulham, the former Charlton star was signed by Mourinho in his first season at Chelsea before going to play at Spurs later on in his career.
During his time at White Hart Lane, Parker drew high praise indeed – “What Parker does instead is win games. He does this not by punctuating the match but by controlling it. He smothers oncoming attacks. He forces opponents off the ball. He orchestrates distribution out of the back, setting in motion a Spurs onslaught that will culminate 60 yards downfield,” explained US journalist William Saletan.
With Devine playing half of his matches for the U18s in a defensive midfield position, might Mourinho see him as a Parker-type long-term? That certainly seems to be the case.
Wigan’s chief executive Jonathan Jackson lauded Devine as a “very talented footballer” who “has huge potential”.
Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp… Alfie Devine? It certainly seems like Daniel Levy and co have unearthed a potential gem here.
AND in other news, Spurs £15m transfer target would be a colossal upgrade on Sanchez…