Jose Mourinho refuses to be drawn on Dele Alli’s Tottenham future; backs Gareth Bale despite slow start

Dan Kilpatrick
·4-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

Jose Mourinho, the Tottenham manager, has refused to be drawn on whether he would allow Dele Alli to leave the club this month.

Alli is wanted by Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain after falling out of favour under Mourinho but Spurs are reluctant to sanction a loan move mid-season.

The club's chairman Daniel Levy is thought to believe that Spurs would be unable to sign a replacement of similar quality in January and is wary of losing a talented squad player given the unique circumstances of this season.

Mourinho has been publicly adamant that Harry Winks is going nowhere this month but, asked if he would sanction Alli's departure if Spurs cannot sign a replacement, the manager said he would rather keep his view private.

"It’s not a question that I am comfortable to answer," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Sunday’s visit to basement club Sheffield United.

"Of course, I would know how to answer you. But I am not ready to answer, I am not ready to make public my vision of the situation. I am sorry about that but I’m not going to answer."

Pushed in more general terms over whether Spurs would allow first-team players to leave this month without new signings, Mourinho doubled down, sensing a trap.

"You are asking that question in a general way but you are, of course, speaking about Dele so the question that you are asking me is if would I let Dele go without getting a player in exchange and I’m not going to answer that question to you," he said.

Alli has not started a Premier League game since the opening day of the season, and has since been restricted to three brief cameos from the bench and outings in the Europa League group stage and domestic cups.

Mourinho again overlooked the 24-year-old in Wednesday's draw with Fulham and, shortly after full-time, Alli posted an image of himself on Instagram looking disgruntled.

Mourinho, who has called on the England international to prove he is worth a place in the side, said there are two types of unhappy players – but declined to specify which category Alli may fall into.

"I think in every dressing-room are unhappy players," Mourinho said.

"For sure. If any one of us, of my tribe, tells you that in his dressing-room are only happy players, I don’t think it’s true. Or somebody is so so lucky to have a miracle in his hands.

"I believe that in every dressing-room, there are unhappy players.

Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

"Then you can have [an] unhappy professional and the unhappy professional is the one that is unhappy but feels that his duty is to work, work, work and work.

"And there is the unhappy that believes that it’s not his job to fight and to work every minute for the squad and for the club. But unhappy players you have everywhere and in every club, I promise you that."

Mourinho, though, insisted that Gareth Bale is enjoying life at Spurs, despite also struggling for meaningful minutes since returning to the club on loan from Real Madrid.

"I think he’s a happy guy," Mourinho said of Bale. "I see him every day really happy. His interaction in the group live is amazing. He’s really a nice and happy guy in the group.

"If he’s happy when he sits on the bench, I don’t think so. I honestly don’t think so. If he has appetite to play football, I do think so because when a player does want to play in Marine after only one training session, after three weeks of injury wants to go and play in Marine, I believe that can only show a person loves to play football."

Mourinho added that he was unwilling to divulge details of why Bale had struggle to replicate his best form so far, saying: "Gareth is a player that I always loved.

"In fact he went to Real Madrid one season [after I left] because I spoke with the president when I was there. He’s a guy I like very much. As a person he’s a really, really nice guy, a dressing room guy. The reasons he didn’t reach in this period the level that Tottenham supporters remember him is a complex answer and I’m not prepared to… If Gareth was here we could speak a little bit about it but just by myself I’m not comfortable."

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