Wherever Jose Mourinho goes, there’s typically a recurring theme of public call-outs to one or more players. During his second stint at Chelsea, the Portuguese manager called out seven players, including Diego Costa. Then, at Manchester United, he was often embroiled in a critical relationship with Luke Shaw. That, of course, brings us to Tottenham and Dele Alli.
Following Mourinho’s arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Englishman enjoyed a short-lived revival, scoring eight goals in as many games. Since then, Alli has rarely featured in North London and even sought to leave the club in January. So, is there a way back for the 24-year-old?
A Failed January Move
Shortly after Mourinho’s appointment, he and Alli looked to be a match made in heaven. The Englishman’s on-field attitude and desire to win is a quality that has long appealed to the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager. However, things quickly went downhill, with the 53-year-old labelling the midfielder as a “lazy party boy”.
At the time of writing, the Milton Keynes-born playmaker has started just one Premier League game for Spurs in the 2020-21 season. However, during that fixture, which was against Everton on the opening day, Alli was hooked at half time. Over the following 24 matchdays, the 24-year-old played just 68 minutes of football and wasn’t even in the squad on 11 occasions.
In turn, Alli sought to swap Tottenham for Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window to reunite with Mauricio Pochettino in the French capital. However, Spurs denied the Englishman’s move as they couldn’t re-sign Christian Eriksen from Inter Milan on loan. The lack of movement reportedly left Alli furious, with the North London club unwilling to sanction an option-to-buy in any loan deal.
Is a Permanent Return to the Team Likely?
Now, the 24-year-old has no choice but to get his head down and focus on the remainder of the season. From a playing standpoint, Mourinho appears to be keen to reintegrate Alli back into his first-team plans. In Spurs’ Europa League knock-out clash with Wolfsberger AC, the playmaker started both legs. Impressively, Alli scored and assisted twice as Tottenham stormed to a 4-0 win in the return fixture in North London. In many ways, the Englishman’s goal showcased his undeniable talent as he found the bottom-left corner of the net with an audacious bicycle kick from the centre of the box.
After impressing in Europe, Alli looks to have played his way back in Mourinho’s ideas, with the Portuguese manager stating that he “loves” on-form selection headaches. Currently, Spurs are competing on all fronts, and the 58-year-old will need the midfielder if Tottenham are to achieve their goals. As of February 25th, Spurs are 9/2 in football betting to win the Europa League at the end of the 2021-22 season. If Alli can regain his top-level form, then there’s no reason that the club can’t go all the way and end their 13-year wait for a trophy.
What’s Next for Alli?
At the time of writing, it looks like the 24-year-old does have a future at Tottenham. However, he’s been here before under Mourinho and is well aware that things can quickly change. While the path back to the Spurs first team is there, it’s up to Alli to prove that he deserves regular playing time.