With two domestic loans already sealed and the money released from the sale of Lucas Digne already spent, Everton’s late interest in Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli seemed to be the best chatter of deadline day. It’s not the first time the Toffees have been linked with a transfer outrage in the closing hours of the transfer window, and Spurs were surely not going to let their talismanic player walk away like this, especially when he was considered one of the best. players in the game just a few seasons ago.
Yet that’s exactly what happened when the Toffees somehow nabbed the player Sir Alex Ferguson once called ‘the best player’ and ordered Jose Mourinho to sign during his ill-fated reign at Manchester United for a conditional free transfer. But it was the creative accounting and finance magic behind the deal that captivated Evertonians and football fans in general.
For years, football fans have complained long and loudly about the compensation system which sees players being paid astronomical sums – for the common man at least – no matter how they play or if they even make the teams. of the day of the match. And any actual performance-based incentives are add-ons only and do not actually affect their due base salaries. The nonchalant attitudes of a number of Everton players have certainly increased this ill will towards them even as the club fall in the standings.
Enter Dele Alli.
The Milton Keynes-born midfielder joined Spurs on a permanent basis in the summer of 2015 and quickly began his rise to the pinnacle of his footballing powers, kicking in goals so much it was him, not striker Harry Kane, who was Spurs’ most valuable and sought-after player. His transfer market valuation soared to €100m and stayed there while he played under Mauricio Pocchetino, with rumors he was set to join Galacticos at Real Madrid making the rounds.
However, the disappointment of the Champions League final defeat seemed to take its toll on Dele and his teammates, and he never regained that sparkling form even though the managerial roulette wheel continued to spin behind him – a feeling that most of his new Everton teammates can sympathize with him.
There is certainly an element of risk in Frank Lampard’s decision to make him a contender for the No.10 role at Everton, a side which have struggled mightily uncreatively from the attacking midfield position, even though they have fast and talented wingers to run for days. . However, the new Merseyside manager has decided he likes what he has seen and feels he can once again bring out the best in the England international who, at 25, is far from a lost cause. . For Dele, he will only have to look to his left Demarai Gray if he needs the inspiration that he can not only get back to his best but maybe also surpass it.
Back to the money, where the real work was done on deadline day behind the scenes. Everton secured the player on what is a conditional free transfer, only having to pay his £100,000-a-week salary, the fourth highest at the club.
The first condition is that the Toffees will have to pay Tottenham £10million once Dele makes 20 appearances. It’s certainly not a number pulled out of thin air, as Everton have 18 Premier League games left to play this season, and with the player level after starring for Spurs in the FA Cup, the Blues won’t have to. pay for him this season at all. Everton have a number of contracts expiring heavily this summer, and that £10million will be much more affordable next season.
This is a low-risk option for the Blues as it essentially makes the rest of this season a trial period. If Lampard can get him back to his best and assuming Dele stays fit and features in every game for the rest of the 2021-22 season, that can only mean he’s playing well enough to be in the line-up. If that just doesn’t work out, the manager has no obligation to play him and Everton could conceivably leave him this summer.
Remember Dele isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan, season or tournament wonder – he’s scored 67 goals in 269 appearances in all competitions for Spurs since the attacking midfield position over seven years – it’s a very similar outing to Tim Cahill’s 68 in 278 games, and there isn’t an Evertonian alive who wouldn’t take that outing.
It has been widely reported that transfer fees could go up to £40million if all conditions, escalators and add-ons are met, details of which remain unclear. However, there is another figure that has been mentioned – that he would need to play 80 games for Spurs to become eligible for the full £40m payment.
Even with two long Cup runs next season and Dele playing every game of the season for the Blues, it will still be under 50 games so the Blues won’t necessarily have to pay the extra transfer fee of 30m pounds up to a point in the 2023-24 season. For the record, Dele’s durability is quite impressive with the player having played 46, 50, 50, 38, 38 and 29 games over the past six full seasons.
Considering he has a two-and-a-half-year contract with Everton, he could have played 80 games in his contract year, by which time Everton may already decide to extend his contract or sell him before he becomes free agent. Again, if he hits all the add-ons to make the £40m then he’ll probably have seen Everton in the top six of the Premier League table, maybe a Cup win or two, a European qualification and more, while on his own performance targets he should have scored a bunch of goals and made a number of appearances for England which are all good things and worth the £40m , similar to what the Toffees paid for Richarlison.
All that to say Everton have found the perfect risk-free deal for a player who could once again reach astonishing heights, the likes of which we haven’t seen at Goodison Park in decades. And if they have to end up paying £40million for it, it will still have been worth it.