13 Nov 2015

'He's fantastic': Redknapp raves over 'sensational' £10m powerhouse who rejected 'Liverpool' transfer

Throughout 2014, Liverpool were regularly linked with England U21 midfielder Dele Alli, who ultimately rejected Anfield to sign for Spurs. At one point, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers made a personal scouting trip to watch Alli, and according to ex-Red Jamie Redknapp, Alli is one of the rising stars of the Premier League.

In his column for the Daily Mail this week, Redknapp picked £10m-rated Alli as one of the Prem's top five players this season, and explained why he's a 'great' signing for Spurs:

"I'm impressed by Dele Alli. He is a fantastic young player with so much pace and confidence which belies his tender years.".

Prior to his £5m Spurs move, Alli claimed to be a Liverpool fan. He told the Daily Mail:

"I am actually a Liverpool fan and Gerrard is someone I look up to massively. Gerrard was a big influence on why I support Liverpool"

Clearly, Alli's fan-status made no difference to his decision, and in a recent interview, he told the Liverpool Echo:

“I didn’t feel Liverpool was the right move personally, and I wanted to stay at MK a bit longer to get some more first-team experience. I knew if I got more experience by the end of the season that I’d be ready to move.”

Alli's former boss, Karl Robinson, is certainly convinced that the youngster is destined for greatness. Last season, Robinson - channeling his inner-Rodgers - gushed:

"He [Alli] is the most gifted youngster I've ever seen. He's sensational. He's on another planet. He’s a terrific individual, and to be a top player you have to conduct yourself in the right way and he certainly does that"

With sixteen appearances this season, Alli is a regular for Spurs, so he arguably made the the right decision to reject Liverpool. At Anfield, he'd be behind Milner, Henderson, Lucas, and (possibly) Can in the pecking order, and prior to his termination, Rodgers probably would've sent him out on loan.

Did Liverpool miss out here? The Academy is bursting at the seams with young talent, but the club lacks - even in the youth ranks - big, tall, combative midfield players. Emre Can is arguably similar to Alli (position/height etc), and statistically, there's not much difference between the two (in the Premier League):

* Can wins a slightly higher percentage of tackles, aerial/ground duels; has higher passing accuracy, and has created a couple more chances (11 vs. 9, though Can has played 130 minutes more than Alli).

* Alli is more effective going forward (more goals; better shooting accuracy; more shots on target etc), and is also slightly ahead on blocks, recoveries, interceptions, and clearances (BRICs).

Like Can, Alli is a little overrated, and in my view, Liverpool can do better than both of them. One thing's for sure: neither player (from what I've seen) is capable of emulating Steven Gerrard.

Author: Jaimie K


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