'I was ready' - Dele Alli reveals how close he came to Liverpool move after transfer talks

Everton midfielder Dele Alli has lifted the lid on how he almost joined Liverpool before completing a switch to Tottenham Hotspur. The 28-year-old sealed a $6.2m (£5m/€5.8m) transfer from MK Dons to North London in 2015, but came very close to wearing red.

Dele has since moved on from Spurs, joining Everton in 2022 while also taking in a loan spell at Turkish side Beşiktaş. The former England international has not featured since February 2023 but has made it clear he is aiming to make a return shortly with one eye on the England squad for the 2026 World Cup.

"I have a reminder on my phone every single day at 11 o'clock — World Cup 2026," Dele told Sky Sports while appearing as a pundit for the Chelsea versus Everton fixture on Monday Night Football. "People will be like 'he hasn't played in a year' but that's my aim. I know where my level is."

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As well as his ambitions in the future, Dele also commented on the potential transfer to Liverpool that fell through before he arrived at Spurs. Dele met then-Reds boss Brendan Rodgers after scoring in a game against Coventry.

“So after the game, Liverpool would play in West Ham, I think in London," Dele explained. "And then I went to meet Brendan Rodgers after that game, the night before the Liverpool game, and we had a conversation but it never happened. I felt at that time I was ready to take the next step.”

Speaking back in 2016, Rodgers also commented on the possible transfer to Liverpool that never materialized. He said: "We thought we had him at Liverpool. The manager of MK Dons actually drove him down to us. They played a game on the Saturday and we were playing West Ham on the Sunday.

"We'd had contact with Dele, it was all above board, I was speaking with Karl Robinson and I spoke to Dele and his adoptive parents. Karl did really well with him and he came to me and said, 'I've got a really exciting player, I'd love to see him at Liverpool'.

"I spent a couple of hours in a hotel room with him and he wanted to come to Liverpool. It was all about getting the deal done with the club but unfortunately, it never got done. On Saturday evening we thought it had got done but eventually, he went to Tottenham, which was frustrating and disappointing. He's done really well there."

Liverpool.com says: Dele's career has been blighted by individual struggles and injuries across recent years. Everyone across the footballing world is eager to see him return to the levels we all know he can perform at. It's a positive sign to see him making appearances such as these and hopefully, he can return to the pitch in the near future.