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SEVEN 'perfect' destinations for Dele Alli to revitalise his stagnating playing career after failed Besiktas spell

SEVEN 'perfect' destinations for Dele Alli to revitalise his stagnating playing career after failed Besiktas spell

Former Tottenham star Dele Alli is out for the remainder of the season, but where next for the Everton flop after his Besiktas spell?

“I thought Dele Alli was going to be a top player, I must admit,” Manchester United icon Sir Alex Ferguson told Gary Neville on LADbible TV in 2021. “I don’t know what’s happened there.” Indeed, what happened to Dele Alli? Ferguson’s remarks feel more poignant after Alli’s disappointing spell with Turkish side Besiktas was cut short -- and probably for the best.

Alli appeared destined to reach new heights in his football career after a stunning run of form at Tottenham saw him capture back-to-back PFA Young Player of the Year awards coupled with consecutive PFA Team of the Year spots. Considering his decline post-Spurs, it’s easy to forget that the 27-year-old attacking midfielder was once linked with Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, with the Ligue 1 club reportedly ready to pay Tottenham a £50m fee for him at one time.

The former England international’s decline came in brutal fashion at the north London club, with Jose Mourinho’s now-famous warning to Alli in Amazon Prime Video’s All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur coming back to haunt the player. “I am 56 now, and yesterday, yesterday, I was 20. In no time. Time flies,” Mourinho told Alli. “One day, I think you will regret if you don’t reach what you can reach. I’m not expecting you to be the man of the match every game, I’m not expecting you to score goals every game. I want to tell you that I think you will regret [it]. You should demand more from you. Not me demanding more from you. Not me. Nobody. You. I think you should demand more from you.”

Alli left Tottenham in the 2022 January transfer window and completed a move to Everton, with the Toffees paying a fee worth up to £40m if performance-related add-ons are met. However, Alli’s once-stunning Spurs form didn’t follow him to Goodison Park and he failed to impress in his first six months at Everton.

Alli signed for Besiktas on a season-long loan last August, but the Everton flop’s hopes of a career revival quickly turned into a nightmare spell for him. The former Tottenham star was openly criticised by Besiktas head coach Senol Gunes and Alli struggled for regular playing time in the Turkish side’s first team. Alli returned to Everton earlier this month for a review of an injury that he sustained during his ill-fated loan spell. However, his return to Goodison Park marked the end of his spell at Besiktas after he underwent successful surgery on his hip injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Besiktas president Ahmet Nur Cebi has surprisingly left the door open for Alli to make a return to the Super Lig side if he leaves Everton for free this summer. But considering how his spell in Turkey went in the first place, it would be wise if Alli didn’t return to Besiktas. It remains unclear if a second chance at Everton could happen for Alli, but in the meantime, SPORTbible has taken a closer look at seven possible destinations that could be ‘perfect’ for Alli, whether on a permanent transfer or even another loan spell.

1. & 2. AC Milan/Inter Milan

Dele Alli was once linked with a move to the San Siro amid interest from AC Milan and Inter Milan.

An opportunity in Italy and the country’s top-flight domestic league could be the fresh start that Dele Alli desperately needs right now in his career. England international Fikayo Tomori has thrived at AC Milan after leaving Chelsea, while English players like Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling have had newfound opportunities to secure regular first-team football at Roma. (Yeah, maybe it’s best for Alli to avoid Roma and a potential reunion with Jose Mourinho considering that interaction they had at Tottenham.)

Alli was previously linked with both AC Milan and Inter Milan before he completed his move to Everton. Sure, the football is a bit more slow-paced in Italy and the league has a famous reputation for its resilient defences, but Alli packed an abundance of creativity, flair and attacking threat during his peak form at Tottenham. What’s more is that Alli would likely secure first-team football in European club competitions, too, with the San Siro potentially being the destination where he could see a turn in fortunes.

3. Borussia Dortmund

Could Dele Alli emerge as the main man at Borussia Dortmund if Jude Bellingham leaves the German club?

Much like AC Milan and Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund were reportedly linked with Dele Alli when his Tottenham future was uncertain. The Bundesliga club faces a real risk of losing star player Jude Bellingham in the summer transfer window, with Europe’s elite clubs interested in the England midfielder. Liverpool have withdrawn from the race to land the 19-year-old Dortmund star, but Bellingham has attracted interest from Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

With a potential Bellingham exit from Dortmund on the cards -- and that’s if a club are willing to meet Dortmund’s hefty valuation for him -- then Alli’s arrival at the Westfalenstadion could be the start of a new project for Dortmund. The German side lost Erling Haaland to Manchester City last summer and Bellingham’s departure would be another blow for them. However, it would position Alli with a rare opportunity to inject his influence into the attacking threat of Dortmund’s team. Is he a replacement for Bellingham? Obviously not, but Alli could be a cheap option for Dortmund to snap up all things considered.

4. Newcastle United

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe could use Dele Alli’s Champions League experience if the Magpies finish inside the top four this season.

Newcastle are another Premier League club that reportedly had Dele Alli on their radar in the past, and it’s hard not to see why Eddie Howe could rekindle the Magpies’ interest in him. Newcastle supporters have been on cloud nine this season and Howe has been hailed -- and rightfully so -- for his impact from the hot seat. The Magpies fell short of capturing major silverware after their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the League Cup final at Wembley in February.

However, Newcastle are still in contention for a top-four Premier League finish this season and securing Champions League football next season would be a massive win for Howe and the club’s Saudi Arabia-led owners. Not only could Alli add another creative midfielder to Howe’s squad depth, but he also has vital Champions League experience under his belt from his time with Tottenham. Howe could call on that priceless European football experience from Alli if Newcastle can finish in the top four this season and find themselves competing in the Champions League next season.

5. The MLS

Dele Alli would be a welcome addition to pretty much any team in the MLS.

Okay, look, the MLS is probably a massive downgrade for Alli, but maybe time away from the spotlight in European football could be the perfect opportunity for him to perform a soft reset on his career. Considering Alli’s quality on the pitch, irrespective of his current form, he would still walk into pretty much every team in the MLS. It’s not like MLS clubs wouldn’t be able to put him up on decent wages either, and a stateside move wouldn’t be the nail in the coffin for his playing career.

Alli is only 27 years old, so it’s hardly surprising so much attention has been placed on him: the expectations for him were to be a top-tier player entering the prime stage of his career. But hey, age is only a number, and at 27 years old Alli still has time on his side. There’s not one specific reason to explain why Alli has fallen so badly, but a bit of time to ‘find himself’ in the United States might help him rekindle his love for the sport -- that is, if he has fallen out of love with it in the first place.

6. Al Nassr/Saudi Pro League

Could we see a Dele Alli and Cristiano Ronaldo link-up at Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr?

The Saudi Pro League has had a massive spotlight placed on it since Cristiano Ronaldo completed his lucrative move to Al Nassr. Saudi Arabia have made it clear they have big ambitions in the world of sports, despite staunch claims of sportswashing levelled at the country. Whether it’s boxing, WWE or football, the big-money draw of Saudi is here to stay, for better or worse. Lionel Messi has been heavily linked with a well-paid move to Saudi Arabia, while the Saudi Pro League could see an influx of players from Europe in the summer following Ronaldo’s arrival.

Ronaldo has admitted that the Saudi Pro League is not even in the same league as the Premier League for standards, but he has suggested that it can become the “fourth or fifth most competitive league in the world” in the future. Alli could be one of the influx of players who could head to the Saudi Pro League and have a fresh start after his flop spell at Besiktas. Ronaldo will always be the star attraction at a club like Al Nassr, so Alli’s presence in a team like theirs would be dwarfed and allow him to quietly rediscover his best form on the pitch.

7. Burnley

Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany has done remarkable work at Burnley this season.

If Alli is keen to stay in England and in the Premier League, then a soon-to-be newly promoted team like Burnley could eye him up if Everton are willing to sell him for a cheap. Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany has been widely hailed for his impact at Burnley after succeeding Sean Dyche last summer. In his first full season in charge at Turf Moor, Kompany ensured Burnley’s return to the Premier League and, in the progress, clinched the Championship title.

Burnley were only relegated from the Premier League last season, but a creative player like Alli in their squad would be invaluable to Kompany in the 2023-24 season. There’s no denying that Kompany deserves his praise, with even Pep Guardiola going as far as to suggest that he could be City’s future manager. However, the Burnley boss’ fledgling managerial career will be put to the test in the Premier League. Kompany has inspired and united Burnley in his debut season, but maybe his coaching philosophy and tactics could help reinvent Alli into a new player if a move to Turf Moor actually happened.

Is There Any Hope Of An Everton Future For Dele Alli?

If an early exit from Goodison Park isn’t on the table, an actual run in the Everton first team is still a real possibility. Frank Lampard is no longer manager of Everton and the arrival of Sean Dyche in January could easily pave the way for a second opportunity. Whether or not they survive their Premier League relegation battle, the lacklustre Everton team needs a spark of life and a resurgent Dele Alli could be the exact catalyst the Toffees have needed for some time.

Following his return from Besiktas due to his injury, Dyche urged Alli to use his recovery time “wisely” and refused to close the door on the Everton player’s immediate future at Goodison Park. When asked about Alli’s future at the club earlier this month, the Everton boss said: “He is not here. He has an injury which will keep him out for some time. Some of the stuff reported -- they know what they should and shouldn’t be doing. As a manager, you cannot control everything in their lives. Should we be following them all day? You can only guide them. He has an injury which will take a while to sort out -- it will be a number of weeks.”


Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Dele Alli, Everton, Besiktas, Premier League, England, Football, Spotlight