Ian Ayre reveals Dele Alli priced himself out of Liverpool move

Nick Howson
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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli would have joined Liverpool had it not been for his financial demands, according to ex-Reds chief executive Ian Ayre. The Merseysiders were heavily linked with a move for the future England international but he eventually moved to White Hart Lane in January 2015.

Despite joining from League One Milton Keynes Dons, Alli has been a revelation in the Premier League and has been named the PFA Young Player of the Year for a second time after netting 16 times in the top flight this term. His displays have underpinned Spurs' challenge for the title, which sees them trail leaders Chelsea by four points with five games remaining.

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But the trajectory of Alli's career could have been entirely different had Liverpool caved in to his demands upon his exit from MK Dons. Former manager Brendan Rodgers has previously spoken of his frustration over not being able to secure the deal, and Ayre – who left as CEO in February – says the rewards which Alli wanted saw talks break down.

"There was interest in the player, but where it got to was that the demands at that time were not fitting to what he had achieved at that point," Ayre told a lecture at Liverpool's St George's Hall, according to Sky Sports. "We didn't feel the player matched that demand. It's easy to sit and say 'look what you could have bought', but how many players could you apply the reverse of that to? That's the truth."

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Rodgers revealed after he was sacked by the Anfield club that Dons manager Karl Robinson had given him a tip-off over Alli several years ago, and even met the player in a hotel room in an effort to thrash out an agreement. Alli's recent development has provoked praise from all corners of football, including from ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp who believes he is worth £100m ($129m).

Dele Alli

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Rodgers revealed after he was sacked by the Anfield club that Dons manager Karl Robinson had given him a tip-off over Alli several years ago, and even met the player in a hotel room in an effort to thrash out an agreement. Alli's recent development has provoked praise from all corners of football, including from ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp who believes he is worth £100m ($129m).

But the 21-year-old is not the only player Liverpool have missed out on in recent years, with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez also slipping by the wayside when the club attempted to replace the Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez. Ayre says the Chilean's desire to move to London thwarted the deal after Suarez had move to Cataluña.

"The hardest one out has to be Suarez, because: a) nobody wanted him to leave; and b) halfway through the process he bit somebody at the World Cup!" added Ayre. "I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me: 'My friend, he's bitten somebody, how can this be the price?' I said: 'He'd already bitten somebody when you first bid!'

"The thing to understand is that you are never actually in complete control of who you buy and sell as a club. There was much-publicised interest in Alexis Sanchez, as part of the deal which saw Luis go to Barcelona, and that deal was done. The only reason it wasn't was that the player and his wife wanted to live in London. We couldn't move the football club to London, unfortunately!"





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