Frank Lampard on Bill Kenwright's message to Everton players
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Everton are supposedly refusing to jump to conclusions regarding Dele Alli despite suggestions that the former England international should consider retirement after struggling to make an impact at Goodison Park. The Toffees pulled the trigger in January after the player was deemed expendable by Tottenham, and if he returns to top form, the deal could reach a whopping £40million.
Premier League fans have been reluctant to give up on Alli given the tremendous goal-scoring prowess on display during his early years. The midfielder averaged more than 12 league goals per season over his first three in the top flight, but he has failed to reach double figures since.
His form has tailed off dramatically over the past two campaigns and Spurs boss Antonio Conte promptly placed him on the exit list after reviewing the players he had at his disposal in north London. The 25-year-old’s last England cap came in 2019.
Fresh from appointing Frank Lampard as boss, Everton made swift work of recruiting Alli on an unorthodox free transfer. Reports indicate that £10m will be sent to Spurs as soon as he surpasses 20 first-team appearances, and the fee could reach £40m if more ambitious targets are met.
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After six lacklustre appearances, some suggest that the Toffees could be tempted to cut ties before they have to start coughing up the cash at the 20-appearance mark, and Stan Collymore has even backed Alli to retire from football if his heart is no longer in it.
However, a source recently told The Mirror that those within the club are not as quick to judge as those watching on: “People are talking as if Everton paid £40m for him. We didn’t,” the source allegedly said.
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“We pay nothing until he has proven himself, and his salary also reflects that structure too. So yes, it was a calculated gamble, because the stats said he was a long, long way from his best form. But Dele Alli at his best form would be worth in excess of £100m in this market, not ‘free’.
“And Frank Lampard is a manager who knows attacking midfield more than most. The player has obvious talent, but lost his way under managers with defensive mindsets.
“The club took the chance to see if a more understanding manager can help the talent flourish again. But it was never going to be a short term fix. It was really looking towards next season and beyond.”
The circumstances in which Alli must try and win over Toffees fans are not set to get any easier. Everton have been tipped by many to have the toughest run-in of any Premier League side in relegation trouble.
A three-point buffer and two games in hand on 18th-place Watford could be enough to see them through, however. A trip to face West Ham awaits when domestic action resumes following the international break.
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