Fears over the welfare and playing career of Dele Alli are growing after the Everton player was spotted inhaling laughing gas over the weekend – and now the PFA and even the Government are looking to take action as a consequence.
The attacking midfielder was once seen as one of English football’s elite players. A 2015 transfer to Tottenham from MK Dons was the making of the then-teenager, who went on to score 67 goals in 267 games over seven seasons at Spurs.
Indeed, after scoring 22 times in 50 games under the management of Mauricio Pochettino in 2016/17, Alli was deservedly named the PFA Young Player of the Year over successive seasons.
England recognition soon followed with Alli going on to win 37 caps for his country. And with links to the likes of Real Madrid never far away, Alli appeared to have the world at his feet.
But his career at Tottenham fell into sharp decline. And once Pochettino was sacked, neither Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo or Antonio Conte could get his career back on track.
As a result, it was no surprise that he was allowed to move on, making a January 2022 switch to Everton. Arriving on an initial free transfer, the deal could have seen Tottenham earn £40m from the deal if various conditions were met.
However, then Toffees boss Frank Lampard also struggled to yield any sort of form from Alli.
And just seven months after his move to Goodison, Everton allowed him to sign for Besiktas in Turkey. That deal was on an initial loan but allowed the Super Lig club the option to make the move permanent if he impressed.
Alli, though, has struggled with injuries and fitness in Turkey. And with worrying reports emerging over the player – including this one suggesting he has been ‘banished’ from their squad – concerns over his future escalated.
Home secretary intervenes over Dele Alli scandal
Alli made a total of 15 appearances for Besiktas, scoring three goals. However, with a hip injury ending his season, Alli has been sent back to Everton, with the player now back in the UK.
That leaves his career in some doubt over what happens next. And it seems the player has done himself no favours after being photographed over the weekend allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide.
And while the substance is not currently illegal in the UK, the government are looking into the laws surrounding the possession of so-called ‘hippy crack’.
Per the Daily Telegraph, the incident has seen both the FA and PFA urged to intervene and check on Alli’s welfare.
Furthermore, the photograph has also seemingly enforced the government’s determination to clamp down on the laws surrounding laughing gas.
In the print edition of the Scottish Daily Mail [April 11, 2023, page 63] David Kent wrote: “Although possession of hippy crack is not currently illegal, Home Secretary Suella Braverman wants to introduce new laws banning it entirely for all but legitimate uses after rising concerns over its health effects and links to anti-social behaviour.”
Everton will be disappointed in Alli
Alli is certainly not the first footballer to be caught up in a hippy crack scandal. Indeed, back in 2016, Jack Grealish also found himself in hot water over allegations he too had inhaled it.
However, while not currently illegal, the actions of Alli will certainly br frowned upon by Everton. It is not certainly what any Premier League club would come to expect of one of their players.
Indeed, Toffees manager Sean Dyche – a strict disciplinarian – will unlikely have taken such reports well.
As a result, the 26-year-old now faces an increasingly uncertain future. Whether Everton decide to keep him on remains in some doubt. And with the club currently embroiled in a battle to avoid the drop, Alli’s controversey is another unwelcome distraction.
Discussing his situation, Fabrizio Romano spoke to Caught Offside.
“After being pictured recently, the situation with Dele is difficult and there will be discussions with Everton to find a solution together,” he said.
“For sure his agents will look for a new opportunity but nothing has been decided yet. The first step has to be with Everton and talks will take place soon to decide together.”
The player clearly still has the talent within him, but will need a big career upturn to get him back to the heights once enjoyed at Tottenham and with England.