The Football League’s Young Player of the Year award has been going for ten seasons, and the collective fate of the previous nine winners suggests Spurs nabbed a bargain when paying MK Dons £5m up front for Dele Alli in January.
Milton Keynes’ finest is the first youngster outside the Championship to pick up this prestigious gong, and going by the success rate of prior victors, realised graphically below, Mauricio Pochettino can expect great things from Alli:
Five of the nonet have gone onto claim full senior honours for their country, with four turning out for England and two of those, in Fabian Delph and Nathaniel Clyne, now regulars under Roy Hodgson.
Little needs to be said about Gareth Bale, but Spurs will surely be excited by the parallel between Alli and their former Welsh wing wizard, who left for Real Madrid 20 months ago for a world-record €100m fee.
There have been a couple of relative duds; Tom Ince’s career has stalled since he took the prize with Blackpool two years ago, Wilfried Zaha didn’t work out at Manchester United after moving from Crystal Palace and is now back at Selhurst Park, while David Nugent has repeatedly been found out at the highest level.
However, the fact that Spurs were able to negotiate such a reasonable price for the Dons prospect makes this a relatively risk-free acquisition.
Alli seems to have all the attributes a top-class attacking midfielder requires, including physicality (he’s 6ft2in tall), pace, and an eye for goal.
Having caught the cream of Europe’s attention with six goals in 33 League One appearances last season, Alli has bagged 16 in just four more matches this term, with four struck since he signed on the dotted line at White Hart Lane in early February.
The likes of FC Bayern Munchen and Liverpool, whose outgoing captain Steven Gerrard has been cited as an inspiration by Alli, were said to be in for the England youth international, which makes his puny price tag seem ever more puzzling.
Based on past FLYPOTY winners the omens look strong for Alli at Spurs, but even if he doesn’t live up to the billing, the Lilywhites won’t be down much.
New bwin punters can use their £30 free bet to back Dele Alli to make over 6.5 Premier League starts for Spurs next season at 17/20, which would bring in £25.50 profit if he manages as much.
Alternatively, it’s also 17/20 he makes Pochettino’s first XI in under 6.5 top-flight fixtures.