Sky Sports have today reported that Liverpool have made an official bid for MK Dons midfielder Dele Alli.
The 18-year-old scored six goals in 33 League One appearances for his club last season, and has caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers as a result. Sky earlier reported that after months of being strongly linked with a move for the youngster, Rodgers has finally tabled a bid. Liverpool are rumoured to have beaten off competition for Alli, and they are hopeful of completing a £3.5 million move soon.
After stealing young English talent from the likes of Wycombe and QPR in the face of Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling, Alli's signature would certainly be of the same stature. He is viewed as one of the best young talents outside of the Premier League and has long been linked with a move to the highest level, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal just a few of the other potential suitors.
Alli made his debut at the age of just 16 and was very impressive for the Dons in 2013-14, prompting his manager Karl Robinson to label him the best 17-year-old the country has ever seen earlier in the year.
With Liverpool's youth system already boasting a great crop of young midfielders such as Jordan Rossiter, Pedro Chivirella and Cameron Brannagan, the move has come as a surprise to some. However, Alli is certainly an exciting prospect and he could turn out to be a superb signing in the near future.
Robinson hailed the midfielder as the best in the country for his age, and likened him to Liverpool's own Steven Gerrard. Whether that comparison is farfetched remains to be seen, but he has made appearances for England U17s and U18s, and scored on his first full debut for MK Dons. In March, Alli became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for the club as three sublime finishes secured a 3-1 win and also caught much attention from scouts representing Premier League clubs.
"What can't this kid do? He's good in the air, he's quick, he's 6ft-plus, he scores goals, he tackles - what more do you want?" said MK Dons' manager Robinson after that performance, and if he could live up to his reputation, Alli could well prove to be a smart signing.
He would follow Seyi Ojo, another attacking midfielder who moved from MK Dons to Liverpool back in November 2011 as a 14-year-old. He moved for a fee in the region of £1 million and has impressed at youth level, but Alli's signature is rumoured to cost much more than that. Though the initial fee would be £3.5 million, it could eventually rise to £8 million in additional clauses such as appearances.
It remains to be seen as to whether MK Dons will be able to hold on to the England U18 international as they push for promotion, but for a fee in that bracket, they would surely be inclined to allow Alli to move on. He would join Rickie Lambert and Emre Can in signing for Liverpool this summer, if the proposed deal goes through.