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Barcelona are reportedly working on a deal to sign Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli, with Lionel Messi being a huge admirer of the youngster. Spanish website Diario Gol claim that the Catalan giants have reportedly obliged and have begun working on a deal to secure the services of the 21-year-old.

Alli has become an integral part of Mauricio Pochettino’s project at Tottenham Hotspur in a team already heavily packed with sublime talents. He has endured a stunning rise to prominence since signing from MK Dons in 2015.

The England international, who has grown into one of the hottest young properties on the continent, now appears to have found out his latest admirer in 5-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. It is said that Messi has been influencing a deal with the Argentina international worried about Andres Iniesta.

Iniesta, 32, has shown signs of slowing up in recent months and, despite signing a lifelong contract earlier this month, the Spain international is entering the twilight years of his career. Messi thinks Alli is the ideal player to replace the ageing Iniesta at Camp Nou and has asked Barcelona to do their utmost to sign the 21-year-old highly-rated midfielder.

The Argentine has reportedly been impressed by the performances and development of Alli and sees him as one of the best young players in the world.

The La Liga giants are aware of the need to reinforce that area of the field but know that the bidding will start at around the €100m mark. Alli, since signing for Spurs in 2015, has established himself as one of the best and most consistent players in the top flight under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

With Spurs yet to come close to ending their 10-year trophy drought, Pochettino is aware of the risk that the England international could be priced away. Barcelona are best-placed to sign him, amidst interest from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United as well.

However, Pochettino would be reluctant to lose any player in January as he bids to challenge in the FA Cup and Champions League with the Premier League title far from gone.

Alli, who has faced a lot of flak in the first half of the season for not being effective in games, could be flattered by Barcelona’s interest but should look to stay put at Tottenham for time being and decide on his future after the World Cup.