Dele Alli has taken the Premier League by storm since his arrival to Tottenham Hotspur in the 2015-16 season. The English midfielder has made waves after waves in his short time with the North Londoners. From being a relatively unknown quantity, who was plying his trade in the League One a year and a half ago, to a household name and one of the best players in England, Alli’s rise has been extremely rapid and meteoric.
The England international, in his not so long spell in the big leagues has drawn comparison with some of the biggest names in the world of football. The attacker has been likened to English legend Paul Gascoigne by some of the biggest people in the footballing fraternity like Xavi Hernandez and Sir Alex Ferguson. He has also been dubbed as the next Frank Lampard by many.
And more recently, former Chelsea left-back and Lampard’s teammate Wayne Bridge too went on record stating that he sees Alli as the natural successor for Lampard and Chelsea should sign him. Speaking to BetStars, he said:
“I’d love to see Dele Alli in a Chelsea shirt. Obviously, it’s a bit controversial for him to leave Spurs and go to Chelsea, but I think under Antonio Conte he would do really well. The question is how important they think that player is to their team and how much they are willing to spend.
“Chelsea definitely miss Frank Lampard and for me Dele Alli is the closest player at this precise moment that could fill his boots. He is starting off the right way and he’s so exciting to watch.
“It’s obviously a big ask and it wouldn’t be an easy job, but I think he [Alli] has got it in him to progress and do what Lampard has done. He’s got the attributes to go and do it – he’s still young, he can score goals, he can assist and he works hard.”
While Bridge has hit the nail right on the head when he says that Alli is the closest to Frank Lampard, the likelihood of him moving to Chelsea is next to impossible. But it does open up a discussion about the comparison between one of the best players to have played for England and another who looks set to emulate the legend at both club and country level.
Regarded widely as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation by players, managers, media and pundits, Lampard was an all-round versatile midfielder who could play anywhere in the middle of the park. Over his long and glorious career, the legendary midfielder played as an attacking midfielder, a box-to-box operator, in the defensive midfield and on occasions as a secondary striker too.
Known for his stamina and ability to read games, Lampard was at his best when operating in a box-to-box role that allowed him to win the ball back and start attacks from deep owing to his excellent vision and range of passing. But the biggest asset in his game was his ability to make late runs into the box and be in the right position and score goals with accurate and powerful finishes. This was something that allowed him to have an excellent goal-scoring record throughout his career, despite playing in the midfield.
The fact that he scored a whopping 211 goals for Chelsea in his fourteen years from 648 appearances and is the all-time leading goal-scorer for the London outfit says it all.
On the other hand, the £50m rated midfielder is Known for his keen eye for goal and the ability to create and score, Alli has been heralded as the best English player in the Premier League in the past year or so. The 20-year old has predominantly played as an attacking midfielder this season with Tottenham and on a handful of occasions played on the wings and as a supporting striker too, but had been deployed in a central midfield position for a good chunk of games in the previous season.
The reason for his success in the league is his wide-range of abilities. Alli is an excellent dribbler of the ball and possesses great pace, has the ability to take a shot from long-range and has scored spectacular goals for club and country already. The fact that he possesses a great work-rate and possesses a very good positional awareness means he can easily play in a deeper midfield role as well. Alli at his best when he has space to run at with pace and attack defenders and most of his goals last season came from such surging runs into the box.
In his short time at the White Hart Lane, Alli has already netted 28 goals from 87 appearances. He went onto become the fastest midfielder to reach 20 Premier League goals earlier this season, leaving behind some serious names like Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Lampard himself.
There are several similarities between Alli and Lampard when one looks at the way they operate. Lampard had a knack of getting in the right place at the right time and scoring goals, which is prominently visible in the way Alli plays. The former Chelsea player made a habit of scoring heavily and Alli looks to be headed in the same direction. Players like these are gold dust to any team. Lampard showed that during his time at Chelsea and now Alli is demonstrating it week in week out for the Lilywhites.
Any team in the world would want to have Alli in their ranks and no doubt Chelsea would be among those clubs too. But there is no way that Tottenham will allow one of their best players to leave, that too to join a direct derby rival. And unlike in the past, Spurs are in a position to keep hold of their big players. They are making huge strides both on and off the field and look headed towards establishing themselves as one of the best teams in Europe in the coming years. And there are no doubts that Alli is committed to the club and will not be looking at a switch either.
Alli is meant for greatness, no question there, he could very well go on to emulate Lampard, even get better than the legendary Chelsea midfielder. But, it will be with Tottenham and Tottenham alone.