Jose Mourinho is “testing” Dele Alli at Tottenham, says Alan Hutton, with the England international continuing to spark talk of interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
Such speculation was commonplace a few years ago, with a goalscoring midfielder performing at the peak of his powers.
That is no longer the case, with Alli suffering a humbling tumble down pecking orders for club and country.
Gareth Southgate has taken to overlooking the 24-year-old in Three Lions squads, with it difficult to justify his inclusion given the struggles being endured domestically.
Alli did land a regular role for Spurs following Mourinho’s arrival in north London back in November 2019.
He has, however, slipped out of favour in the current campaign and has taken in just 75 minutes of Premier League football this season.
That lack of action, with Alli omitted completely from Mourinho’s plans in a 2-0 defeat to Leicester last time out, has seen exit talk resurface at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Leading sides across Europe are said to remain keen on a proven performer who still has plenty of potential to unlock, and it could be that a move is sought during the January window.
Hutton admits that something needs to be done, with Alli being pushed to breaking point by Mourinho.
The former Spurs defender told Football Insider: “Mourinho is testing him. He is certainly testing his mentality and his mental strength.
“When he has been given an opportunity he has played well. He has taken his chances and that is all he can do.
“It is an extremely difficult position for Dele Alli because he is being left of the squad completely.
“Does he have a future under Mourinho? If this is Jose testing him, he is doing very well.”
Alli stepped off the bench for Spurs during their meetings with Crystal Palace and Liverpool, but was left out of the matchday squad for a home date with Leicester.
He has figured on a more regular basis in the Europa League this season, with six of his 10 appearances coming in that competition, but he would have been hoping for much more.
That has a man with 64 Spurs goals to his name mulling over his options heading into the new year, with it suggested that he may be given the chance to rediscover a spark while taking in a loan spell elsewhere.