Tottenham fans will know from experience that if Real Madrid had already decided they want to buy Dele Alli, then the Madrid media would be all over it.
Even if there was a mere suggestion that Florentino Perez had identified the player as his next Galactico, Ali would find himself the subject of repeated Marca and AS claims, and if there was anything concrete in it, then El Confidencial would be covering the situation too.
Yet Dele Alli hasn’t had repeated Marca front covers and double page spreads. The potential transfer has hardly been covered independently with any Spanish updates, and it simply would have been if there was anything to the Sunday Express’ claims.
Going with the headline ‘Tottenham Exclusive: Real Madrid to go all out to sign Dele Alli in the summer’, the English newspaper also claim: ‘Alli it has emerged is a leading target for Paris Saint-Germain but Real who are currently serving a one window transfer ban have him at the top of their wanted list.
‘They are planning a major clear out at the end of the season and made it clear that they will do whatever it takes to land Alli.’
The story was previously pushed by the English media at the beginning of January, but didn’t make waves in Spain.
Catalan newspaper Sport did pick up the English claims but their motivation was poking Perez with a stick.
Daniel Levy had allegedly sent a ‘We won’t sell Dele Alli’ message to Perez, and the Real Madrid president had therefore been scared off the Tottenham player.
As we explained at the time, that was probably what Sport hoped had happened, rather than there being genuine information, but the idea of Perez being wary of Levy and Tottenham is a firm one in Spain.
Perez is well aware Real Madrid would be in for a battle they may well lose, and he’d only be up for that if Alli became his obsession. Sport’s Levy message may well have been fiction dressed as fact, but it underlines the feeling in Spain of how hard it is to buy a player from Tottenham.
To cut to the chase, if Madrid at this moment are planning a big move for Dele Alli then they’re likelier to leak that to Marca and others, and they would leak it. Tottenham fans will remember the relentless Spanish press pursuit of Gareth Bale.
It’s almost inconceivable the leaks would instead go to the English media, and precedent backs that up. If Dele Alli continues his great form then Real Madrid may become interested, but it’s pretty certain he’s not their priority right now.