Dele Alli was quite the footballer for Tottenham Hotspur, leaving behind a legacy of goals, assists, and the embodiment of an era that promised so much.
It’s a slightly peculiar emotion to be so low about a transfer of a footballer, who hasn’t been playing or offering much recently, to another club. After all, we’ve sold some incredible players over the years who have indeed encapsulated Tottenham Hotspur and what it all means. Yet seeing Dele leave Tottenham feels like an end of an era.
Dele was a livewire. At his very best for Tottenham, Dele was difficult to place in terms of his position. Many football fans still aren’t 100% sure just what position he really flourished in.
Dele’s sale the end of an era at Tottenham
Was he a striker or an attacking mid? At his very best, did he remind you of Dimitar Berbatov, with his well-timed runs and exciting moments of skill, his marvellous finishing, and his understanding of those around him? Or a Rafael Van Der Vaart, with his ability to ghost into the box, playing off the striker’s shoulder, clinical at any moment, not afraid to invade the middle of the park, fight for the ball and drive forward with it. Maybe both? Maybe neither.
At Dele’s peak at Spurs, he was deadly in front of goal. Somewhat raw, angry and with a point to prove. He was, in so many ways, the image of Tottenham. He was a Mauricio Pochettino player in every sense. His farewell message via social media to Spurs fans even acknowledges Pochettino and what Tottenham’s former manager meant to him.
His departure feels like the end of a golden era at Spurs. A period of falling short but in the most courageous of styles. A time that, for so many years, we’ve longed for as fans. High tempo, aggressive, tenacious, goals, arrogance, intelligence, and flair. He was a critical part of a team with all of these qualities, yet he alone had all of these attributes.
His injuries may have slowed him, and Jose Mourinho may have drained his confidence further. His positional changes and the loss of a true playmaker in the side, in Christian Eriksen, didn’t help. Maybe his mentality towards his own game, or the game itself, shifted. Perhaps it was all too much to live up to, and the comeback that the Lane demanded was too much pressure for Dele.
So many possible factors. So many ifs, buts, and maybes. All I know is it was a pleasure to watch Dele play. From a sensational moment of skill and strike at Selhurst Park to a mesmerising chip at the Emirates. From an expertly timed run in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to finish a sublime ball from Christian Eriksen to a tantalising display in a victory against Real Madrid on the very same pitch in the Champions League.
It was Alli fighting for the ball and keeping it alive in front of the Paxton, laying it off to Kane to score one of the most memorable goals in a north London Derby. It was Dele cooly flicking the ball onto Lucas Moura in Amsterdam where…the rest is history.
Sadly, it is all history now. But my word, what an adventure and experience it all was. Here’s to hoping Dele re-captures what made him so great, loved, and hard to contain. This time at Goodison Park. Hopefully, just not when Tottenham arrives on Merseyside.