Liverpool were one of the many teams interested in signing Dele Alli from MK Dons, but it was Spurs who won the race to snap up the then promising youngster.
Football scout Mel Johnson has revealed the conversations he had with Liverpool about the player and how the Reds missed out on the chance to bring him to Anfield.
Speaking to Planet Football, Johnson discussed the time he spotted the player for Liverpool.
I went to watch MK Dons against Spurs in a pre-season friendly and he really stood out. He was only 16, but must have been about six-foot and was a real box-to-box player already. Dele had an agent who I knew and Gary Waddock, who I’d known for a long time, was MK Dons’ assistant manager – that’s where the networking comes in. I put Dele’s name forward to Liverpool, but someone else went to watch him and the rest is history.
I’d have taken him all day long, but Liverpool’s hierarchy disagreed and he went to Spurs. Damien [Comolli] had left by then and there was a new regime which was computer and stats-led.
Johnson has worked closely with Liverpool during his years as a scout, played a key role in deals to sign Jordan Henderson from Sunderland and Jordan Ibe from Wycombe.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, Alli will go down as one that got away in the transfer market, with Spurs now reaping the rewards of snapping him up so young.
Tottenham completed a £5 million deal back in 2015 and loaned him back to MK Dons as part of the deal.