Of all the potential moves by Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window, Dele seems not only the most likely to leave. His potential transfer is also almost certainly the one that is most likely to stay in the news throughout the month and escalate into a “saga.”
PSG seems the most likely destination, what with Dele’s former boss Mauricio Pochettino now in charge in Paris. However, according to Sky Sports, Tottenham Hotspur aren’t willing to play ball, and aren’t sanctioning any sort of move in the January window at all.
According to the report, Spurs expect Dele to stay and “fight for his place in the team,” and the club is unwilling to let him leave either on loan or on a permanent basis as he could be needed for midfield depth in the second half of the season. Spurs are still in four competitions and are saying they will need a deep squad if they wish to make deep runs in all of them.
So I’m not sure how much I believe this is genuinely Tottenham’s position on Dele. Jose Mourinho has clearly had multiple opportunities to let Dele play his way back into the team and hasn’t really afforded him the opportunity. The one time he seemed to give Dele a chance, he played pretty well before Mourinho threw him under the bus for a misplayed backheel flick. I’m pretty certain that Mourinho wants him gone, and I’m also pretty sure that Dele would be happy to be afforded the opportunity to leave.
Transfers are often played out in the media and I think that’s what’s happening here. If Tottenham come out and say that Dele is available, he’ll attract a bunch of interest but likely either on loan with an option to purchase, or a depressed transfer fee. With Dele still in contract at Spurs for the next three years, it would make little sense for Spurs to sell low.
Denying any intention to deal could be a cynical ploy to increase the price of a future bid, or it could be Daniel Levy hedging on the possibility that Dele could outlast Mourinho’s tenure in charge of the club. Either way, I wouldn’t take this report at face value. Dele very well could stay at Spurs past the January window, but that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be moved on in the medium future.