It is convenient for Mauricio Pochettino that he was appointed Paris Saint-Germain’s new boss just two days into a transfer window. The Argentine has inherited a talented group of players, but the squad at the Parc des Princes is unbalanced and in need of strengthening in a number of key areas. January presents PSG with the chance to address this for the new man in charge. Speculation is already swirling over who could join Pochettino in the French capital and the latest Tottenham transfer news suggest that several of the Argentine’s former players are targets. Indeed, Serge Aurier, Hugo Lloris and Harry Winks have been the subject of rumours, but it’s the reports linking Dele Alli with PSG that carry the most weight.
While Spurs have soared at times this season, Dele has fallen down the pecking order to the extent he has been on the peripheries of Jose Mourinho’s squad, not just the first team. There’s something about the 24-year-old that isn’t to the liking of the Portuguese coach, with other options currently favoured
Pochettino, of course, got the best out of Dele during their time together in North London. It was the Argentine who welcomed the midfielder to Tottenham as a teenager and who fast-tracked him into the first team. Dele’s poor form can be traced back to before Pochettino’s departure from Spurs in November 2019, but he would surely still welcome a reunion with his former manager.
PSG could use some of the dynamism that Dele Alli would bring. There would be a role for him in Pochettino’s side, especially with Angel di Maria a long way from his best this season and Marco Verratti still injury prone. Dele would strengthen PSG’s midfield unit and add another dimension to how they attack opposition teams.
Questions have been asked of Dele’s attitude and commitment in recent times and the 24-year-old would have to fit into a dressing room that is already occupied by some of the biggest egos in the game. The Englishman would have to take his place in an already established hierarchy at the Parc des Princes. He would be there to serve the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
If, however, there is a manager who can get the best out of Dele again, it’s Pochettino. The Argentine might have to change system and formation to accommodate the MK Dons youth product, but he might already have to do that in order to instil some balance into the French champions.
Recent reports claim Tottenham are unwilling to let Dele leave, either permanently or on loan, in the January window, but it’s difficult to see a future for the 24-year-old at the North London club as long as Mourinho is there. At Chelsea, it was Juan Mata who the Portuguese made an example of to set a standard for the rest of his squad. At Manchester United, it was Paul Pogba. And at Spurs, it’s Dele.
PSG might look to reinforce other areas of their squad before making a move for Dele Alli. Pochettino’s system depends on strong full backs and this is a position the French champions are especially weak in. A strong defensive basis in general was a feature of the Argentine’s Spurs side and PSG currently lack the players at the back to give him that, with Thiago Silva allowed to leave at the end of last season.
But the January transfer market is notoriously difficult to navigate and Dele Alli could be one of the few high calibre targets available to Pochettino this month as he reshapes PSG in his own image. If the midfielder can escape to the French capital, he could find redemption through a reunion with a familiar figure.