This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
As Mauricio Pochettino’s journey as Tottenham Hotspur manager ends, perhaps no player at the club embodies his reign better than a certain Dele Alli. Indeed, the player enjoyed a thrilling rise to the top during the days of the 2015/16 campaign, made an impact on the biggest stages by scoring twice against Real Madrid and winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in consecutive campaigns, before enduring a recent struggle that has seen him questioned by pundits such as Graeme Souness.
With the Argentine having now departed just six months after the incredible run to the Champions League final and Spurs marooned in 14th position, Alli’s highs and lows look in keeping with the coach he recently thanked publicly on Twitter.
It all started when Alli began playing for MK Dons’ youth academy, before being integrated into the first-team fold at the tender age of just 16, appearing off the bench in an FA Cup fixture against non-league side Cambridge City in 2012.
Having impressed in the return leg of that FA Cup clash, scoring a goal in a 6-1 win for the Dons (his first start for the Buckinghamshire outfit), teenage Alli had firmly put his name on the map.
He had to wait until the season after (2013-14) before cementing a regular place in the club’s first-team, however, but when he did, there was only one way this exciting young talent was heading.
24 goals and 15 assists for Alli in just 88 appearances ensured Alli would move on to bigger things. Signed by Tottenham in 2015 for just £6m, Alli was initially loaned straight back to MK Dons to gain more first-team experience in the lower reaches of the English footballing pyramid.
Upon his return to north London, though, Alli has now become a genuine star for Tottenham despite his recent struggles; scoring 55 goals whilst providing 50 assists for the Lilywhites in 194 appearances (all comps, via Transfermarkt). Part of England’s journey to the World Cup semi-final, new manager Jose Mourinho has a dangerous attacking weapon to use – one hardened to the demands of top level football – thanks to Pochettino’s coaching.
Looking at what the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ did to Frank Lampard – another fairly young attacking midfielder when he first joined Chelsea – turning him into a goal machine breaking from deep, the future could actually be fairly bright for Alli if that kind of method could be replicated. Indeed, prior to Mourinho taking over at Stamford Bridge, he’d never scored more than 10 goals in a season, compared to reaching highs of 22 after working with him.
Transfermarkt now value Alli at £81m in today’s market – £75m (or one Virgil van Dijk) more than he joined the club for in 2015.
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