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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Dele Alli worth his weight in gold to Tottenham's hopes of a title challenge

England midfielder rated as the second most valuable player in the world. His value to Tottenham is priceless.

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Juventus with teammate Dele Alli, right, during a pre-season friendly. Darren Staples / Reuters
Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Juventus with teammate Dele Alli, right, during a pre-season friendly. Darren Staples / Reuters

In June, reputable football think tank CIES Football Observatory produced a report on the most valuable footballers in the world.

On their website they explain the scientific methods they use to determine the outcome, stating: "The exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm is based on the thorough analysis of almost 2,000 paying fee transfers. The variables through which transfer values are modelled notably include the performance of both players and employer clubs, international status, contract, age and position."

Lionel Messi, the world's best footballer, was ranked No 4 with a market value of €151.7 million (Dh654.8m), while the Barcelona superstar's great rival Cristiano Ronaldo came in at No 11 with a value of €112.4m.

Topping the list - and given the criteria it's hardly surprising - was Neymar, valued at an eye-watering €210.7m. The CIES valuation was actually some €11m short of what Paris Saint-Germain shelled out last week to prise the Brazil captain away from Camp Nou, but what's a few million between two superpowers?

Also on Neymar:

Perhaps more surprising is the player who occupies second spot, valued higher than the likes of Luis Suarez, Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard, as well as Messi and Ronaldo" Tottenham Hotspur's dynamic No 10, Dele Alli.

But is it actually that surprising?

Scorer of 18 Premier League goals last season and 10 the one before, Alli has established himself as one of the finest goal-scoring midfielders in world football. Still only 21, CIES gives him a current market value of €155.1m.

Tottenham's lack of transfer activity over the summer has been out of place with the rest of the Premier League, particularly when the other five clubs who finished in the top six have spent around €600m between them.

While there is a danger Tottenham risk falling behind their title rivals, manager Mauricio Pochettino is clearly confident he has at his disposal a squad capable of challenging without the need for major reinforcements.

Alli, and in particular his partnership with striker Harry Kane - who it's worth mentioning ranked No 3 on the CIES list - is absolutely key to that. Why spend money on new players when you already have the best forward and best goal-scoring midfielder in the league?

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"In the box, he looks like a striker, and outside the box, he plays like a midfielder," Pochettino has said of Alli.

For Tottenham to challenge for the title again, the onus will be on the likes of central defensive pairing Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, midfield creator Christian Eriksen, and Kane to deliver once again.

But just as there was last season, particularly during Kane's two spells out injured, an increasing amount of responsibility is being placed onto the young shoulders of Alli. He proved last season he could handle it, yet for Tottenham to maintain their status as genuine title challengers, Alli will need to find another gear this season. All signs suggest he will and prove why he deserves his status as one of the most valuable players in world football.

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