NEWCASTLE United are weighing up a swoop for wonderkid Dele Alli – in a bid to beat Liverpool to the signature of the ‘new Steven Gerrard’.
MK Dons midfielder Alli has been heavily scouted by the Magpies as they look to bolster their midfield options for next season.
And while they had planned on keeping tabs on the teenager until the end of the campaign, with a possible move for him in the summer, Newcastle may now decide to act in this transfer window to beat off competition from several Premier League clubs, including Liverpool.
United managing director Lee Charnley had said earlier this week that he didn’t expect Newcastle to do much business this month.
But with a number of clubs monitoring 18-year-old Alli, who Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr and his team have watched closely for a while now, United could make a move for the £7m-rated youngster, who has been dubbed the ‘new Steven Gerrard’.
Dons boss Karl Robinson is aware of Newcastle’s interest, and the club are bracing themselves for a bid for the midfield dynamo before the close of the transfer window.
When asked if Dons had received any bids for Alli, Robinson said: “Not yet, no.
“There’s been a lot of talk over Dele and Newcastle United and certain clubs.
“I think it’s a bit more than paper talk but there’s nothing that we’ve heard yet.”
Alli is a product of the MK Dons academy, and is understood to want to stay with his hometown club until the end of the season and help them gain promotion to the Championship.
And one option for Newcastle is to buy the youngster this month, but loan him back to the League One outfit.
The Magpies clinched a similar deal with Nottingham Forest over the sale of goalkeeper Karl Darlow and defender Jamaal Lascelles in the summer, which allowed them to get the duo at a cheaper price.
Robinson, meanwhile, says that the speculation over his future doesn’t bother Alli because he is mentally strong – and has backed the teen to go down as one the club’s greatest ever players.
“I think Dele conducts himself wonderfully well and if his mentality was weak it (the speculation) would worry me, but he’s a very strong character,” added Robinson.
“He will go down as one of the greatest players we’ve had.
“If he can achieve something with us this year he’s got a great opportunity with us.”
Alli, who has been capped by England at U19 level, first joined the Dons as an 11-year-old and made his first-team debut as a substitute aged just 16 in a FA Cup tie against Cambridge City.
That game ended goalless, but Alli struck the winner with a 30-yard strike in the replay.
He scored 17 times last season and has been a key part of MK’s exploits this campaign, including a 4-0 win over Manchester United in the Capital One Cup.