Dele Alli was once one of England’s brightest prospects, but following a precipitous drop, he has relocated to Turkey in the hopes of reviving his career.
A move from Tottenham to Everton last season was meant to provide him a fresh start, but he leaves the Toffees without scoring or providing an assist in 13 games for Frank Lampard’s team.
With Alli still only 26 years old, he has plenty of time to recapture the form that made him a Tottenham and Three Lions regular, and he will spend the rest of the season on loan at Besiktas.
What, though, went wrong for Alli? Is this move to Turkey his last chance to return to his former glory?
Only five years ago, Alli was one of Tottenham’s most significant players, scoring 18 Premier League goals as Spurs finished second to Chelsea.
However, following the euphoria of guiding England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, Alli’s appearances for club and country have gradually reduced, with numerous managers attempting but failing to get a tune out of him.
Alli last scored in double figures in the 2017-18 season, when he had ten goals. He has only scored 14 goals in the last four seasons. Meanwhile, he gained his 37th England cap three years ago.
Alli was received like a hero by enthusiastic supporters upon his arrival in Turkey on Thursday, and if that kind of response does not fuel that fire, it is difficult to see what will.
Playing overseas allows Alli to rediscover his form away from the scrutiny of the British media, and the lack of that pressure may also assist.
If neither of these options can get Alli moving again, former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp feels the brutal reality of his predicament would suffice.
Alli’s stunning fall from golden kid of English football to lost talent is highlighted further when he leaves Everton for a loan spell at Besiktas after only seven months at Goodison Park.
Alli had the world at his feet after joining Tottenham from MK Dons, and he looked like a superstar in the making as he scored twice and had a spectacular performance as Real Madrid were defeated 3-1 in the Champions League at Wembley in November 2017.
He was a member of England’s World Cup semi-final team in Russia in 2018, but Alli’s influence and talent have declined in an unexplained manner since then.
The fire that gave him a hard competitive edge to complement his innate abilities appears to have been doused, despite the pleadings of then-Spurs manager Jose Mourinho that Alli would regret wasting a potentially spectacular career if he did not re-ignite it.
Spurs were happy to offload a player many once thought could be worth £100 million to Everton in a staggered deal in January, and the Merseysiders were desperate to ship him out to Beskitas before a clause in his move meant a £10 million payment kicked in after 20 appearances, despite having only played 13 times.
Alli’s departure is one of the most perplexing of all football mysteries, having won the PFA Young Player Of The Year award twice in a row in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
He has appeared to be a player who has lost his hunger for the game, something he would undoubtedly deny, but the evidence is there that Alli has turned into a shell of the world-class player he could have become.
Alli still has a lot of support from those who want to see his particular skill realized, but the chances of that happening are fading, and Besiktas may be his last chance to resurrect a career that has gone off the rails.