Last January there was news that Newcastle were in the lead to sign 18 year-old MK Dons central midfielder Dele Alli, who was said to be one of England’s emerging stars and was playing well for the MK Dons.
The lad stands 6’2″ tall and while we were the favorites we seemed to hesitate over the £5M asking price and then at the end of the transfer window in moved Tottenham, paid what was being asked and he quickly became a Spurs player.
Dele Alli – what a player this lad can become
The rest is almost history with Dele making a great start to his Tottenham career under manager Mauricio Pochettino and he is now a starter at White Hart Lane and he made his fourth appearance last night for the full England side and started the game against France last night.
The game was a demonstration of England’s support of France following the terrorist attacks in Paris and England won 2-0, but it must have been difficult for French players to have full concentration on the game – given all that’s happened in Paris.
It was an emotional night last night at Wembley as the whole crowd sang ‘La Marseillaise’ – the French national anthem – before the game.
Dele Alli had a great game – scored a wonderful first goal for England – and got a great reception from the 70,000 crowd when he was withdrawn late in the game after 88 minutes – and was the Man of the Match.
And this player could have been a Newcastle player?
Yes – if we had only shown more ambition and more willingness to spend a little bit more to get a top young player – but that’s been Newcastle’s big problem for eight years under Mike Ashley.
As is happens another player starting for England who played the whole game was Eric Dier, another Tottenham player who beat Newcastle to signing the 21 year-old center-back when he was at Sporting Lisbon almost sixteen months ago.
Newcastle had been linked to the England youngster that summer but Spurs picked him up for a cool £4M.
Pochettino has converted Eric from a center-back or full back to a defensive midfielder – which is where he played for England last night.
And it may be that the Argentine manager has England’s top two central midfielders for the Euro 2016 finals in France next summer.
Newcastle will always be at a disadvantage to London clubs in trying to persuade players to join the club – simply because of geography and where Newcastle is – in the north-east of England.
But we have to be both more ambitious and more decisive in the transfer market if we are ever to become a top side again.
Maybe the mistakes of last January when we even allowed Davide Santon to leave and brought nobody in and let Alan Pardew leave when – by Lee Charnley’s own admission – we had no plan to replace him.
Alan Pardew is now doing very well at Crystal Palace and Davide is now starring for Inter-Milan, who are joint top of the Italian League.
Maybe those (many) mistakes made by Newcastle have finally woken up those at the top of the club?
We hope so – and we had a decent transfer window last summer and we need another one in January.