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Dele’s Tottenham future in serious doubt after Mourinho lineup snubs

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Two sources are reporting that Spurs are trying to move Dele on, with PSG showing interest.

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Tottenham Hotspur Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Have we seen the last of Dele in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt? The odds of that coming true are certainly more likely now than they were just a couple of weeks ago. There is reporting from multiple sources out today that suggests that Spurs are trying to offload Dele, on the heels of manager Jose Mourinho complaining about “lazy” players after last Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

First, some background: Dele was left at home when the club went to Bulgaria to play against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League second qualifying round. That itself is unusual but not unheard of, but he was also left out of the side completely by Mourinho in today’s 5-2 win at Southampton, with Mourinho saying that he was not injured and that it was a managerial decision. There were reports that Dele was “surprised and disappointed” about the omission.

Combine that with rumors that emerged in the days leading up to the Gareth Bale signing that suggested that Dele was offered to Real Madrid as a sweetener to help smooth the deal, and you start getting the idea that Jose Mourinho wants him gone. It seems inconceivable.

Now to the reporting. Here’s a tweet from Fabrizio Romano, who puts it in some pretty stark terms.

This is backed up as well in an exclusive by Jason Burt in The Telegraph (£), referenced in Fabrizio’s tweet, which states that PSG has now opened talks with Spurs with an eye to signing Dele before the close of the transfer window, either on loan or on a permanent basis.

I’m not sure what to think, but when the club decided to bring back Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, I didn’t think the flip side of the coin was getting rid of a 24-year old potential superstar. It certainly pours some cold water over the whole thing as far as I’m concerned.

There’s a lot here that we don’t yet know and don’t really understand that might clarify things going forward. There are questions as to how Dele and the role he plays for Spurs fits into Jose Mourinho’s tactical system. He’s obviously had a downturn in statistics over the past couple of seasons, though to be fair some of that was injury related.

It’s possible that Dele himself wants a change of scenery and is ready to go, just as it’s also possible that as Tanguy Ndombele seems to have worked his way back into Jose’s good graces that he’s transferred his ire to a new player. Say what you want about Mourinho but he has definitely NOT earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to player relations, even with the benefit of having the Amazon documentary in his corner.

Either way, it seems incredible that we’d be willing to cut bait on a player of Dele’s obvious quality, when there are other players in the squad who look significantly more surplus to requirements. I don’t know where this is leading but I 100% don’t like it.

UPDATE (10:45AM ET): Some more context coming in from Ed Aarons, Ben Fisher and Fabrizio Romano. PSG seem to be offering a loan with an option to purchase at the end of the season. There are quotes from Mourinho as well regarding Dele’s status.

“The way the squad is a puzzle, the bench is also a little puzzle. To have on the bench Toby [Alderweireld] and Serge [Aurier], and Moussa [Sissoko] and Gio [Lo Celso], [Erik] Lamela and [Steven] Bergwijn, I cannot have on the bench four wingers or three wingers and a number ten and then no defenders. Everything is a puzzle so, in these two matches Dele stayed out, probably Tuesday he will play and others will stay out.”

[...]

Spurs have said that they expect Alli to stay but asked if he wants to keep him, Mourinho responded: “I want a balanced squad. That’s what I want. Does he need to be sacrificed? No. But a squad is a puzzle. We have a huge squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage. We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”

This is definitely a thing and it’s not going away.