Tottenham Hotspur may have just missed out on a perfect opportunity to sign another Mousa Dembele.
The saga surrounding Dele Alli’s future in north London rumbles on and with less than four days remaining in the transfer window, it remains to be seen where the 24-year-old will be.
Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is keen to bring him to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Fabrizio Romano. Even Jose Mourinho is happy to sanction his departure as he’s only utilised him for a total of 472 minutes this campaign.
However, chairman Daniel Levy is against seeing the attacking midfielder leave the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium permanently. Romano told the ‘Here We Go’ podcast that the tough-negotiator was holding up any exit this month, claiming that “everyone is waiting” for his decision.
But the longer he’s out-of-favour, the quicker his value is going to diminish – it’s already dropped from £81m in December 2019, around the time of Mourinho’s appointment, to £34.2m as of December 2020, per Transfermarkt.
The 37-time England international also hasn’t played for the Three Lions since September 2019 in their Nations League third-place playoff win over Switzerland, and that won’t do his total worth any help either.
Clearly, he’s not doing enough to convince Mourinho and in reality, he may be better off sold as this issue isn’t going to change anytime soon with the Special One at the helm.
Indeed, the decision to reject PSG’s latest offer is a strange one.
According to Le Parisien, the Ligue 1 champions offered a swap deal involving former Everton and Villa powerhouse Idrissa Gueye, who would have brought Dembele-like qualities to north London once again.
He cost PSG £28m only 18 months ago.
But Spurs rejected the move before agreeing to a dry loan – no obligation or option to buy – on the basis they find cover before Monday’s deadline.
Well even though Gueye is a vastly-different option in the middle, he could have been his replacement in this squad, especially given the fact that he’s a box-to-box enforcer – something that Mourinho is said to be after, as per The Sunday Times’ Duncan Castles.
Spurs legend Tim Sherwood was in charge of Villa when Gueye was at the club, and he dubbed him a “monster.” He said: “You look at him and his stature is very small. But when he’s on the pitch he looks like a monster. He plays like that.”
That season, the 31-year-old brute averaged a whopping 4.1 tackles, four interceptions and two dribbles per game across 35 appearances, via WhoScored, which was the second-most for tackles and interceptions in the division to N’Golo Kante – Dembele was a close fourth (3.6 tackles, 2.6 dribbles).
As seen by those returns alone, Dembele and Gueye were very similar players during their time in the Premier League, and even despite the Senegal international’s advancing years, he’s still putting up impressive numbers.
In 15 appearances, he’s delivered two goals and averaged 2.5 tackles, one interception and 0.7 dribbles per game, via WhoScored. It’s that sort of bustling energy that Mourinho needs alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the engine room.
Something which Alli doesn’t bring. The Spurs boss publically blasted him as “lazy” during the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ docuseries last year, so it’s no wonder he rarely features anymore.
Swapping the faltering midfielder for Gueye would have been a solid piece of business, especially if they could have gotten a fee in return also.
Perhaps Levy has missed out on a golden chance to improve Spurs here – one foolish mistake from the Spurs chief.
AND in other news, this Spurs star badly let Mourinho down against Liverpool…