Paris St-Germain are interested in Tottenham forward Dele Alli.
The Champions League finalists are aware of the England international’s potential availability and senior figures at the club are known to be admirers of the 24-year-old.
Spurs sources insist they expect Alli to stay and fight for his place.
However, the player was not in the squad for victories against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League and Southampton in the Premier League.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has recently added to his attacking options with the signing of Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.
The Wales international is expected to be fit to join Mourinho’s squad after the October international break.
By that time, the transfer window will have closed and, although Premier League clubs can do business after the 5 October deadline, they can only trade with English Football League clubs.
It means Alli has a fortnight to sort out his future or risk an extended spell on the sidelines until the January window opens.
Has Mourinho lost patience with Alli?
When Mourinho was asked after Tottenham’s 5-2 win over Southampton on Sunday whether he wanted to keep Alli, the lack of a definite “yes” was telling.
After a weekend dominated by headlines about the arrival of Bale, it was the omission from the Spurs squad of Alli that provided an intriguing subplot.
So far, Alli has played just 45 minutes of football this season, starting in the 1-0 defeat by Everton in Spurs’ Premier League opener before being replaced at half-time.
Prior to Sunday’s win, Mourinho said only of Alli’s exclusion from the squad that he had “too many players” in certain positions.
Asked afterwards whether Alli had a future at Tottenham, the manager responded positively, saying: “Yes, of course.”
But when pressed on whether he wants to keep him, the Portuguese coach was a little more vague.
“I want a balanced squad - that’s what I want,” he said. “He doesn’t need to be sacrificed for that but a squad is a puzzle.”
Stay and fight or on the move - what next for Alli?
Despite missing the past two games for Tottenham, Alli is set to earn a recall for their next game - the Carabao Cup third-round trip to Leyton Orient.
“He will play on Tuesday,” added Mourinho. “He’s fresh. He has to be motivated by being out of the squad for a couple of matches.
“Tuesday is a knockout game and it’s a big opportunity for him to show how good he is because we know he is very good.”
His new status - having to prove himself against League Two opponents - is a fall from grace for a player who at one stage was among the first names on the teamsheet for club and country but who is now out of favour for both.
Mourinho hinted on Sunday that players might need to leave in order for him to trim the size of his squad, and in addition to PSG’s interest in Alli, Real Madrid are also reportedly keeping an eye on the situation.
“We have a huge squad, a squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage,” Mourinho said. “I never had it, I don’t like to have it and it’s not easy for me.
“I start with Son [Heung-min], with Lucas [Moura] and with Harry Kane and on the bench I still have Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn.
“We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”
From certain starter to out of the team
After joining Tottenham from MK Dons in 2015 Alli developed into one of Europe’s most prized attackers under former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
He reached double figures for goals in his first two seasons as the club and it is less than three years since he scored twice in a famous Tottenham win against Real Madrid in the Champions League
But by the time of Mourinho’s arrival in November last year his form had already started to falter as he struggled with injury and poor performances.
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|All under Jose Mourinho in 2020-21|
Initially, Mourinho seemed determined to help Alli get back to his best, saying he wanted to bring “the real Dele back”, and named him in his starting XI in his first 11 games in charge.
But in the recent Amazon documentary ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham’, there are hints Mourinho has found that task difficult, and Alli finished last season on the bench in successive Premier League games.
In one episode of the documentary, he describes Alli as a “lazy guy” in training, and later tells the club’s chairman Daniel Levy that “we need to find motivation” for the England international.
In another episode, Mourinho calls Alli to his office and challenges the midfielder to realise his potential, telling him: “One day I think you will regret it if you don’t reach what you can reach.”
Mourinho’s decision to exclude Alli from his recent squads might be one last effort to motivate the player - or a sign he has lost patience with him.