Tottenham Hotspur left it late to secure a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, leaving the Midlands with valuable three points that have provided their top-four ambitions for the season with a huge boost and resurgence.
It was Dele Alli’s 200th appearance for Spurs since he joined from MK Dons in the summer of 2015, but he could have been playing for another Midland club instead.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Aston Villa were among the clubs pursuing the midfielder and had agreed a deal with MK Dons.
Alli and his representatives visited Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground a day before the 2015 January transfer window deadline ahead of a deal worth £20,000-a-week, touring their facilities and receiving a presentation that made it clear that he would be the focal point of a team built around him.
However, then Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had gone extra lengths to convince Alli a move to White Hart Lane was the best for him, and he signed for Tottenham the next day.
The England international signed a five-and-a-half-year deal for an initial fee of £5 million, spending the rest of the season on loan with the League One side.
Since moving to Tottenham, Alli has scored 58 goals in 200 games, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and also making the PFA Team of the Year for both seasons.
Aston Villa got relegated the following season, and it remains to be seen if Alli would have helped prevent it if he was in the team.
They probably would have lost him eventually if he was in the Championship with them, but the board probably regrets letting him slip through their fingers.