Exclusive - Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has been left furious and frustrated that the club was unable to agree a deal for him to join Paris Saint-Germain on loan during the January transfer window, which would have seen the player reunite with former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
PSG were interested in Dele even before Pochettino was appointed new head coach at the start of January, but the presence of his old Spurs mentor looked like it could seal the deal.
Dele has been out of favour with Jose Mourinho at Spurs this season. In a moment captured during the club’s All or Nothing series on Amazon Prime, Mourinho even told the player upon taking over last season that he thought he was a ‘lazy’ trainer.
Although the boss also spoke glowingly about Dele’s talent and ability, it hasn’t been enough to command a place in the team in 2020/21 and the 24-year-old has only played 29 minutes of Premier League football since he was hauled off at half-time in the opening game of the campaign.
Despite Mourinho’s view on the player, 90min can reveal that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s reluctance to agree to any deal that could potentially sever ties with Dele permanently proved to be the key factor in why he was unable to secure a transfer.
90min had earlier reported in December as the transfer window approached that Levy remains a big fan of Dele, believing he is still young enough to keep developing and rediscover his best form.
That ultimately influenced Levy’s willingness to sign off on a January exit. He was happy to sanction a loan of up to 18 months and PSG were on board with that. But the French champions were insistent on having an option to buy inserted into deal as well and Levy refused.
The proposed move fell apart, leaving Dele fuming because he had his heart set on joining PSG, reuniting with Pochettino and lining up alongside the likes Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
It is also a major setback to his ambitions of making it into the England squad in time for the delayed European Championship in the summer. His only option now is to continue working hard in training, as he has done all season, and hope that it is enough to prove himself to Mourinho and force his way onto the pitch for Spurs and into Three Lions consideration.
England boss Gareth Southgate is still a big fan of Dele, but Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley, James Maddison and Mason Mount all playing regularly between now and the end of the season will make it even more challenging to return to the squad any time soon.