Dele Alli revealed that the chance to join his boyhood club, Liverpool, opened up in the summer of 2014, but the Reds’ charm offensive fell short when Steven Gerrard slept through a meeting with the young midfielder.
Gerrard, Alli’s hero, was meant to be the key lure for a deal to be brokered, but it fell through, leaving the Milton Keynes Dons teenager to instead join Tottenham Hotspur for £5 million a few months later, winning the 2015-16 season’s PFA Young Player of the Year award and quickly becoming a full England international.
“At the time when I was at MK there was contact with Liverpool before I signed for Tottenham, but that was before we’d even spoke to Tottenham,” Alli told the BBC’s Football Focus, according to Liverpool Echo’s Kristian Walsh. “I think it was six months before.
“We went up there and I think they knew that Steven Gerrard was my hero, so they said he was going to come down to meet me, but when I got there he was asleep apparently.
“I think he had a game the next day, though, so I understand.”
Liverpool’s loss is Spurs’ gain, with Alli emerging as one of the most exciting midfielders on the planet – his box-to-box game leaving countless Premier League adversaries reeling last term. The Reds now field Georginio Wijnaldum in a similar role, after he arrived for a princely sum of £25 million from Newcastle United last summer.
Alli, 20, will be expected to line up when Tottenham welcomes Burnley to White Hart Lane on Sunday.