By James Nalton, Football Whispers
Unfortunately for Tottenham Hotspur fans, their club continue to be a shop window for European giants Real Madrid as the Spanish champions eye up a number of their players after successful purchases from North London in recent years.
One of the best players currently at their club, Luka Modric, made the switch in 2012. Gareth Bale also swapped The Lilywhites for Los Blancos a year later, becoming one of their most potent attacking weapons, after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Our friends at Football Whispers look at how the England international will fit in at the Bernabeu and who would be sold to make way.
Spanish outlet Don Balon have reported that the player is high on Perez’s wish-list, and he could use Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic as part of the deal.
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A move to Spain for the 21-year-old would be an interesting one, and it might be something that football fans, aside from those at Spurs, would be intrigued to see happen.
The Madrid club have signed English players in the past, for example Steve McManaman and David Beckham, who both enjoyed successful spells at the club, while Michael Owen also made an impact there despite not appearing regularly.
Real are a club who look for the best talent across the globe, regardless of their nationality, and seem to be one of very few clubs on the continent who are good at persuading English players to join them — and more often than not getting the best out of them.
Alli has played in a number of midfield roles, but seems to thrive in more advanced areas when he’s able to link up with compatriot Kane. At times the pairing resembles that of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres at Liverpool, which saw the midfielder become more of a support striker.
Where Alli would fit in the current Real side would depend a lot on Zinedine Zidane’s tactics. The French manager has experienced great success since moving up from coaching their reserve side, Real Madrid Castilla, in 2016. He won the Champions League after just four months in charge, and went on to become the first coach in the modern era to win it again the following season while also securing the league title ahead of Barcelona.
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Zidane’s tactics are difficult to pin down, but this could be a good thing for Alli should he end up working under the Frenchman in Madrid. There is always a rough team shape in Madrid’s setup, but each player is also given an individual role within the team, with the skills and strengths of each player ensuring the whole thing is strong across the pitch one eleven men are chosen.
It’s this philosophy which has got the best from numerous midfielders including Modric, Isco, Toni Kroos, Casemiro – as well as full-backs Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.
Isco, especially, would give Alli hope he could fit in at the club. Though the technically gifted Spaniard is a different type of player, both could play different roles but in similar starting positions.
Operating at the head of a diamond, Isco drifts around, sometimes acting as a wide playmaker while also dropping deep or coming inside when space appeared.
Alli could play in the centre of midfield, at the tip of a diamond, or behind a striker, and perform a similar kind of role which allows him to roam around linking with the midfield or striker Karim Benzema.
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Zidane has already used a 4-1-4-1 formation this season and a central role in the attacking four behind the striker would be ideal for the Spurs midfielder. He’s a versatile and complete enough player to slot into a number of midfield roles whether the formation is a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or something asymmetrical dreamed up by Zidane to get the best from his players.
If it emerges this transfer is more than just gossip, and Alli’s search for a new agent lands him with someone like Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, for example, then someone would have to be moved to make way as a result of the Englishman’s arrival.
Kovacic seems the prime candidate, and the gossip pages have already put two and two together and come up with the aforementioned player plus cash deal. There will be plenty of competition for places, but this is what Madrid will want, as they expect Dani Ceballos to emerge as competition for other midfield berths, especially now Modric is 32.
It would be good for Alli to join while the likes of Ronaldo and Modric are still at the club, and even if he doesn’t get into the side straight away it would be an invaluable learning experience to be involved in the same squad as these players before making the step up as he enters his mid 20s.