It’s not something just affecting the English Premier League. France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Spain’s La Liga are all in the same boat, as are Premier Leagues in all footballing countries across Europe.
It is the first time in the last ten years that the number of international transfer deals has dropped below those of the preceding year. Nonetheless, drop it has, and by a significant 5.4%, leaving Tottenham Hotspur’s, Dele Ali, and ex-Spurs player Christian Eriksen, currently with Italian club side Inter Milan, disappointedly clicking their heels. Eriksen is currently being tipped to make a move to Arsenal in the January transfer window, and Ali could be going to PSG.
With a little over a week to go before the window closes, the biggest winter transfer to date has been Ajax’s €22.5 million signing of Sebastien Haller, the Ivory Coast international from EPL club West Ham United.
It’s not only frustrating for clubs but players too, especially players like Dele Ali. The 24-year-old midfielder seems to be currently out of favour with Spurs’ boss Jose Mourinho. When he first came to the North London club in February 2015, it was on a loan deal, and the fee was €6.3 million. A little over three months later, the move became permanent.
Ali played for the England U17s, U18s, and U19s while still at MK Dons, and under the guidance of the then Spurs’ manager, Mauricio Pochettino, he flourished. In November 2015, he made his first appearance for the senior England team, against France, scoring a goal from long range against French keeper Hugo Lloris, now his teammate.
He went on to play a significant role in England’s World Cup campaign in 2018. Not bad from an 11-year old who started out his career in the MK Dons youth system. But back at Tottenham, when Jose Mourinho replaced Pochettino in November 2019, in 2020/2021 things began to go wrong and Dele Ali didn’t appear to be in the Portuguese’s good books.
So far this season, Ali has only made four appearances for the North Londoners. Not only is he desperate for regular first-team football, he is also scared that his lack of top-flight matchplay will rule him out from being selected for the England National side.
Paris Saint Germain have shown interest in acquiring the midfielder’s services on several occasions. With his old boss, Mauricio Pochettino, taking over as manager at PSG in January this year, the move for Dele Ali is undoubtedly an attractive one. It is reported that he has pleaded with Spurs’ Chairman, Daniel Levy, to be let go.
However, despite not selecting Ali often, Mourinho said that he would only be happy with a 6-month loan, at the end of which the 24-year-old should return to North London. Pochettino is not content with that, preferring instead to include a buy out clause. The argument rumbles on.
One interesting thought is that Christian Eriksen, the Danish midfielder who left Spurs January 2020, to join Inter Milan, has never settled. Although his name has been linked with a move to Spurs’ North London rivals, Arsenal, there is some speculation that if Dele Ali does go to PSG, Eriksen would be a perfect replacement.