By Will Butcher
Gus Poyet has urged Tottenham to rebuff any future offers for Dele Alli in order to maintain their hopes winning the Premier League.
Alli’s displays have sparked plenty of debate over the future of the playmaker, and the Sun reported earlier this week that manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to rule out a possible move for the England star.
Speaking to Alan Brazil’s Sports Breakfast Show on talkSPORT, former Spurs player and coach Poyet claimed the north London outfit must keep Alli in order to obtain silverware in the future.
He compared the 21-year-old to Dimitar Berbatov, and believes the Bulgarian’s departure in the summer of 2008 scuppered Spurs’ chances of challenging for the 2008-09 title.
“It is time to stand up. It is time for Spurs to stand up and show the world you are able to keep them [the best players],” Poyet said.
“If somebody like Dele Alli leaves, then you start from zero again, so it is very important [to keep him]. I was at Spurs as a coach when we lost [Dimitar] Berbatov [to Manchester United].
“It destroyed our season and eight weeks later you are out [of the title race].”
Alli has been in sublime form for the north London giants this season, scoring 20 goals from midfield as well as laying on a further 11 in assists during his 44 league and cup outings.
His form has also seen him become one of Gareth Southgate’s most valued players for England, as he continues to shine under manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Alli is expected to start from the off against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, as Spurs look to reduce the deficit between themselves and league leaders Chelsea back to four points.
Chelsea extended the lead to seven points on Tuesday night with a 4-2 win over Southampton, and Spurs must now earn a 22nd league win of the season to close the gap.
Former Spurs star Poyet is now working as manager of Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua, after managing the likes of Real Betis, AEK Athens and Sunderland.
In other Tottenham news, Thierry Henry has revealed what he would be thinking ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.