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Jonjo Shelvey will be hoping that Dele Alli is the forgiving type as he prepares for an awkward reunion at Besiktas with the former Tottenham star. The Newcastle midfielder is set to seal a surprise switch to the Turkish outfit for the remainder of the season and in doing so, he will bump into familiar faces like Alli in Istanbul.
The 30-year-old has been frozen out under Eddie Howe since Bruno Guimaraes’ arrival in January last year and he has struggled to win back his place after Newcastle’s impressive start to the season saw the Magpies rise to fourth in the Premier League table. According to Turkish outlet Spor Arena, Besiktas have entered talks to discuss a move.
With a temporary switch giving Shelvey a new challenge after spending his entire career in England, the ex-Liverpool man will be eager to ensure he makes an impression – but Alli may not be pleased to see him considering their historic clash that saw Shelvey sent off nearly six years ago.
Shelvey was shown a red card by referee Andre Marriner when he stamped on the ankle of Alli during Tottenham’s 2-0 away win back in 2017 when the two sides met, with the attacking midfielder opening the scoring in the game.
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Alli had earned a reputation for retaliating when provoked but the midfielder kept his cool after confronting Shelvey about the challenge. And he decided to take the high road, refusing to hold a grudge despite the ugly incident involving himself and the then-Newcastle player.
“I think some of those things happen sometimes in football. It’s one of those things, but he’s a great player and I’m sure he’s going to be disappointed,” Alli said at the time, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “It was important that we stayed professional and kept doing what we knew we had to do, which was keep the ball moving, even though it was difficult at times. But yeah, I don’t want to talk about it [the Shelvey stamp] too much to be honest.”
Shelvey admitted at the time he was upset with his behaviour: “I text my agent saying I needed to sort this out. I said, ‘I need to see someone who can help me, a psychologist’. The game was still going on but I knew I had to act. The lad had given me a dig and he only did it because I was running the game.”
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One can only wonder if the incident will come up again in conversation nearly six years down the line as the two players reunite in Turkey.
Neither probably would have imagined their career trajectories taking them to the Turkish Super Lig in the prime years of their careers, especially Alli.
But injuries have taken their toll on both players. Alli was a regular member of the England squad as recent as 2019 and once scored 18 goals in a single Premier League campaign at the height of his career with Tottenham, before muscle injuries blighted the latter years of his days at Spurs.
Shelvey is currently out with a calf injury but, like Alli, he has been dogged by such problems throughout his career and his enormous potential has gone largely unfulfilled.
Now, the 26-year-old Alli is facing an uncertain future after being exiled at Besiktas by coach Senol Gunes and he could be moved on by his parent club Everton if his loan is terminated.
That could solve the problem for Shelvey, but he could be forced to make things right with Alli when he turns up in the dressing room.
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