Dele Alli’s future remains uncertain as he returns to Everton from Besiktas
An uphill battle for the attacking midfielder
Having been handed a career lifeline in Turkey back in August, Dele Alli is set to return to Everton and faces an uncertain future. Alli, 26, joined Everton during Frank Lampard’s tenure as manager, arriving from Tottenham Hotspur on the back of a prolonged slump in form that had seen him fall out of favour for both club and country. But a move to Goodison Park has not ignited Dele’s form and a loan switch to Turkish side Beskitas was inked at the end of August that offered the Super Lig side the opportunity to sign the attacking midfielder for £8m.
Clauses and a tight financial constraint limit Everton’s options
There was, however, no obligation to buy Alli from Besiktas’ end, and with him having struggled in Turkey for form, netting twice in 13 games during a largely frustrating spell, a decision has been taken, according to The Athletic, to send the Everton man back to his parent club. That return could be potentially problematic for Everton moving forward given their desire to operate smarter in the market and avoid having large contracts for players that are not delivering and for whom finding an exit isn’t easy.
Everton received a €2.2m (£1.9m) loan fee for Alli, but it was the Blues that still shouldered the burden of cost on his wages throughout the duration of his stint with the Black Eagles. With Everton having to work under tight financial constraints last summer, needing to keep within the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules – a necessity that remains for the Toffees – a deal was struck with Spurs that would structure the signing of Alli that allowed for Everton to avoid any costly transfer sums.
While there was no initial transfer fee for Dele, should the move had panned out as hoped for, then Everton could have had to fork out up to £40m to Spurs if clauses and bonus payments had been activated. One of those clauses is that Everton are to pay Spurs £10m after he makes 20 appearances for the club, another being that 25 per cent of any fee for selling Alli would be heading to the North London side, who were willing to cut their losses when they allowed him to leave last January.
Dele Alli’s future at Everton
Alli is currently seven games off that 20 figure, his contract expiring at the end of next season. He has started just one game for Everton since his January 2022 move. Quizzed on Alli’s Everton future, Blues boss Sean Dyche told reporters: “I’ll wait to find out (about Dele) during the international break. We’ll have to wait and see and judge in the summer. We’ll pick that up during the international break.” Dele could find a way back for Everton next season under Dyche, but his likely hefty wages and the need to pay £10m if he makes seven appearances cloud the picture.
The Toffees need to plough ahead with a recruitment path that focuses on growing the value of young players rather than managing the decline of those more experienced, and expensive, stars. Solving this situation would surely be near the top of Dyche’s ‘to do’ list this summer. All this is considered at a time when Everton are mired in a relegation battle, one which Dyche has managed to give them a real fighting chance of escaping for a second season. However, should they go down then shedding big wages will be an issue, and the cost associated with keeping Alli around as a first teamer would be an expensive exercise.
The risk involved
When Dele was signed there was an acceptance of the risk involved given that it offered real upside with the prospect of him rediscovering the kind of form that made him one of the most coveted English players in Europe in the not too distant past. But for a club that is still fighting to get themselves back on an even keel after some bruising years financially, there will be a reluctance to take such a hit. Finding a suitor to take him in the summer would require concessions on both sides, however.