Tottenham players have been left stunned after Dele Alli was not included in the squad to face Southampton on Sunday.
The midfielder’s team-mates are amazed that the England star has been left out of Jose Mourinho’s plans for the second successive game.
On Wednesday Alli was left in London as the rest of the squad flew to Bulgaria for the clash against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
And now more questions will be asked regarding Alli’s future.
Sportsmail reported this week how Tottenham had considered using Alli as a potential sweetener in their move to bring Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale back to the club.
That scenario appeared remote as Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Spurs in a move that was driven by Mourinho.
The prospect of Alli leaving Spurs before the October 5 transfer deadline is starting to look a realistic possibility – his exclusion from the travelling party on Wednesday and Sunday is another indicator that his future, at least this season, may remain elsewhere.
While Alli’s talent is undoubted, there is a mutual feeling from all parties the midfielder could benefit from a move away to reinvigorate his career – particularly if it becomes clear Alli won’t be playing regularly this season.
With Bale’s arrival, competition for places in attacking midfield positions will become fiercer in the coming weeks.
If the 24-year-old is made available, then there will be no shortage of takers domestically and in Europe.
But there is likely to be a reluctance to sell Alli on a permanent basis from within the club given the depreciated market caused by Covid – particularly for a player who not long ago was valued in the region of £100million.
Tottenham would also prefer to loan Alli to an overseas club so as not to strengthen a domestic rival.
Paris Saint Germain have monitored Alli for a number of years, while Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte is known to be a long-term admirer.
Alli, by his own admission, has not lived up to the sky-high standards he has set himself after bursting onto the scene in sensational fashion five years ago.