Liverpool missed out on signing Dele Alli because their owners were only willing to pay him £4,000 a week.
The embarrassing blunder cost the Reds the chance to sign one of England’s most exciting prospects. Instead, Tottenham Hotspur snapped up the 19-year-old from MK Dons for a bargain fee of £5 million.
The Daily Mail report that Fenway Sports Group viewed Alli as little more than an under 21 prospect. As it turns out, the midfielder has emerged into a rising star.
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Alli shunned his boyhood club and signed for Spurs in January 2015. Alli hasn't looked back - he signed a £25,000-a-week extension with the London club last week and has earned four England caps.
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed just how close he came to signing the youngster on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme.
“The young boy Alli has stepped up really, really well. He is fantastic.
“We thought we had him at Liverpool - I spoke to him with his adoptive parents.
“Karl Robinson, the manager of MK Dons, drove him down to us. They played a game on the Saturday, we were playing West Ham on the Sunday and we were in contact with Dele. It was all above board, I was speaking to Karl.
Rodgers admitted that Robinson wanted Alli to sign for Liverpool.
“Karl has done a brilliant job with him, playing him in different positions, educating him on the game and Karl had actually come on to me and said, 'listen, I've got a player Brendan, I think he is going to be fantastic. I'd love to see him at Liverpool'.
"We watched him, looked at him and then I spent a couple hours in a hotel room with him.
"He wanted to come to Liverpool. It was just then about getting the deal done with the club and unfortunately it never got done but at that point, that Saturday evening, we thought we had him in, it was done.
"He stayed on then, the deal didn't get done between the clubs and eventually he went to Tottenham, which was frustrating and disappointing really.”
Liverpool possess an abundance of midfielders but there’s little doubt Alli would have found a place in the Reds’ starting line-up. He has made 25 appearances for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season, earning plaudits for his ability in both the attacking and defensive sides of the game.
The story offers further evidence of the lack of power Rodgers had over transfers during his three-and-a-half year tenure as Liverpool manager. The Northern Irishman, sacked in early October, admitted on the Sky show that he didn’t have the final say on player signings.
If Alli fulfils his potential, the lack of insight by Liverpool’s American owners will be regarded as one of the biggest errors in football history.
Will Liverpool live to regret not sealing a deal for Alli?