Football is often a funny game, though nobody could’ve foreseen Dele Alli’s rapid downfall at Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s 2020 and the 24-year-old is at a crossroad in his Spurs career, so much so that his place amongst England’s European Championship squad this summer is more than in jeopardy.
It would indeed be a shock to see him on the plane having not featured under Gareth Southgate since the UEFA Nations League third-place playoff in June 2019. That’s well over a year ago.
And this week, his task has gotten even tougher as 17-year-old generational talent, Jude Bellingham, has been called-up for the very first time.
Although not only should that hurt Alli, but Daniel Levy too as he could’ve landed the kid well before Borussia Dortmund stepped in…
Upon signing for the Bundesliga giants in a £30m deal, the Telegraph claimed that Spurs tried to sign the teenager from Birmingham City a year earlier but the tough-negotiating Levy only offered £1m.
The Blues resisted for another season and cashed in this summer in a record-breaking deal.
Bellingham has started four of Dortmund’s seven Bundesliga outings so far this term whilst in all competitions, he’s scored once and also provided two assists, per Transfermarkt.
His box-to-box capabilities have been fully on show in that run too, it’s ever so easy to forget that it won’t be until the end of the season that he turns 18 – per WhoScored, the teen sensation has averaged two tackles, 1.2 dribbles, 1.2 shots, and one key pass per game.
Speaking to talkSPORT (via Bundesliga.com), Jermaine Pennant likened him to a Premier League legend, he said: “He reminds me of a young Steven Gerrard. He throws himself about, he can get up and down the pitch, he can score goals and assist goals, he’s got trickery. He’s a fantastic young player.”
Ironically, this is the same very player that Alli was once tipped to reach the heights of. In fact, Sky Sports pundit Keith Andrews compared the former Birmingham starlet to the Spurs star, as it wasn’t too long ago that he made the huge step-up from MK Dons.
BVB sporting director, Michael Zorc, knows just how big of a talent they have in their hands too, dubbing Bellingham a player with “enormous potential” and has “astonishing quality with and without the ball.”
It certainly seems that Levy missed out on his next Alli in the shape of the Dortmund teenager. If he goes onto make his Three Lions debut this week, it’ll be a decision that he surely long regrets.
A £1m bid is certainly an insult considering he went for 30 times that but that’s no surprise given Levy’s track record. It’s cost Spurs here.