Why ex-Chelsea legend Frank Lampard decided to take a big risk signing Dele Alli from Tottenham

Dele Alli moved to Everton from Tottenham Hotspur on January transfer deadline day.

Frank Lampard has already revealed why he chose to take a risk and buy out-of-form Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli.

Dele has moved from north London to Merseyside on a permanent deal, which could eventually cost up to £40million.

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, the new Everton manager, played a big part in persuading the former England World Cup hero to move to the North West.

Lampard has previously said that Dele was “better than me when I was 20, that’s for sure”.

  • Alli has fallen miserably out of favour at Tottenham.
  • He’s played just 10 times in the league this season and is now surplus to requirements.
  • That’s despite once being an important figure for Spurs and England.
  • In total, Alli has scored 67 goals in 269 games for the north London side.
  • He’s now on the verge of linking up with Lampard at Everton.
Frank Lampard has been appointed Everton boss. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

‘A special player’

Alli’s career has plummeted in recent seasons. Last term, he made only 15 Premier League appearances for Spurs and has clocked up just 10 so far this campaign.

It’s a stark contrast from little more than two-and-a-half years ago when Alli was a key player for Tottenham.

He helped Spurs reach the 2019 Champions League final, while he was a regular in the England team that made it to the World Cup semi-finals the previous summer.

Alli struggled under managers Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and current Spurs chief Antonio Conte, however.

So much so that Tottenham are willing to allow the former MK Dons man to leave on an initial free transfer before asking for £10 million when he makes 20 Everton appearances, per The Telegraph.

There’s no doubt that sections of Blues fans will understandably feel Lampard is taking a big risk.

But judging by the newly-appointed Everton manager’s previous comments, it’s easy to see why he’s gambling on Alli.

Dele Alli’s career has jettisoned having once been a Spurs and England regular. Picture: Martin Rose/Getty Images

Lampard: He is better than me when I was 20

Lampard’s been a huge admirer in the past and will be looking to revive the 25-year-old’s career on Merseyside.

In April 2017, after Alli had bagged his 16th goal of the season in a 4-0 win over Watford, Lampard - who won the Champions League and three Premier League titles during a glittering career - couldn’t hide his admiration.

He even called Alli better than he was at the same age.

“Dele Alli is a special player,” Lampard told Goals on Sunday.

“He is better than me when I was 20, that’s for sure.

“He is like a second striker at the moment but I think that makes sense because the way they play, with the quality in and around the box, he needs to be up there all the time.

“He’s got the knack for runs, he scores great goals like he did yesterday. Seeing goals that he scored in the week against Swansea, he was running in the six-yard box.

“Too many attacking midfield players get towards the penalty spot and then stop and don’t go that extra mile but there’s so many goals to be had. But he does.”

Dele Alli celebrates scoring for Tottenham in their 3-1 win over Real Madrid in 2017. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

A class act

Alli’s upward trajectory continued the following season - and Lampard continued to be in awe.

In November 2017, Alli, then 21, bagged a double in Tottenham’s memorable 3-1 Champions League victory over Real Madrid - who would go on to win the competition.

Lampard was in the BT Sport studio that evening - and called Alli’s one of the best young players in the world.

He said: “I think I played deeper. I think a while ago now he got moved behind Harry Kane because simply his runs are too good.

“His ability around the box and his knack of getting in the right place was too good and they link so well together.

“This season he’s played up there quite high, then he’s dropped back into midfield. He hasn’t found that consistency of what he found for the second half of last season.

“In terms of young players in world football, his runs and timing and obviously his quality of finishing, is up there with anybody.

“I see those angled runs I tried to make. I always tried to make runs behind defenders - because the defenders were sometimes marking and don’t see that angled run behind.”