Despite Chelsea matching Tottenham’s hand in the Premier League title race and maintaining their seven point advantage at the top of the table over the weekend, the nature of Spurs’ 4-0 win over Watford served to indicate that they will not give up the chase until the end of the season, no matter how futile it may seem given the Blues’ run of form.
One of the stars of the victory over Watford, and indeed for the entirety of this campaign and even last season, has been youngster Dele Alli. The man signed from MK Dons the summer before last has been a revelation for the White Hart Lane club, the first great marker of his progress being his breaking into the England fold in late 2015. Having established himself in the first-team for both club and country, he has gone from strength-to-strength, netting 14 goals in 13 games in 2017 alone, taking his overall tally for Tottenham to 26 goals and 14 assists in just two seasons in the Premier League.
Such form hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst legends of the game, and former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has heaped tremendous praise on the youngster, declaring him firmly in the running alongside Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté for Premier League Player of the Year, plus tipping him to break his own Premier League career goal-scoring record from midfield.
Having had a hand in a combined 40 goals, Alli is already superior to Lampard’s record at the age of 21, with Alli celebrating his own 21st birthday on Tuesday. Lampard’s career record stands at 177 goals in the top-flight during spells at West Ham United, Chelsea, and Manchester City, but believes that given his early career form, Alli is well on his way to beating him, having already surpassed the likes of Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, and David Beckham at the same age.
“Dele Alli is a special player”, Lampard told the Daily Mirror. “He’s better than me when I was 20, that’s for sure! He is like a second striker at the moment, but that makes sense with the way they play.
“He scores goals like he did against Watford, but he’s also in the six-yard box scoring. Too many attacking midfield players get to the penalty spot and stop, don’t go that extra mile.
“We talk about Hazard being the best player in the league, I don’t think Dele Alli is that far away from him. Could he score more than me? He could. Of all the midfield players I’ve seen who scores goals, he’s the one who is the best at it.”
Such form hasn’t gone unnoticed amongst world football’s giants, however, and future silverware may well prove vital if Spurs are to keep young talents like Dele Alli on-board at the Lane. One weakness that may not have proven detrimental this campaign but has caught the eye of pundits and supporters if the club’s lack of depth in the striking position, with Harry Kane and Vincent Janssen the only recognised out-and-out forwards on the clubs books.
It is a problem, however, which manager Mauricio Pochettino is looking to rectify, despite the versatility of Son Heung-Min to double-up and play in the middle, and to this end the club are thought to be considering a summer bid for Burnley hot-shot Andre Gray, according to the Daily Mirror.
Gray has netted nine times in his first season in the top-flight for the Clarets, but the 25-year-old only has 12 months left to run on his current deal at Turf Moor, having arrived from Brentford for £9 million back in 2015 before firing the Lancashire side back to the big time. The forward may, therefore, be available for a cut-price move at the end of the season, with further funds potentially to be made available with the sale of Vincent Janssen, who, despite encouraging form recently, has failed to repay his hefty price-tag with goals following his summer move from AZ Alkmaar.
Meanwhile, Tottenham remain on red alert in the transfer window, after FC Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel informed German outlet Bild that Spurs transfer target Max Meyer is currently not in negotiations with the Gelsenkirchen club over a contract extension.
The 21-year-old has just over a year left to run on his current deal at the Veltins Arena, and were he to opt against putting pen to paper, the report claims Meyer may be made available for as little as 20 million euros, an ideal price given Spurs’ current financial constraints over their new stadium.
“At the moment it does not make any sense to think about an extension,” Bild quotes Heidel as saying in German. “Max has to convince the coach that he belongs in the starting 11.”
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