Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
British, 21, Soccer
Vibrant England midfielder living up to the hype
Representatives: Impact Sports Management
Key partners: Adidas, Beats by Dre
2016 ranking: 45
When English soccer side Tottenham Hotspur took a UK£5 million (US$6.5 million) punt on an 18-year-old from Milton Keynes, not even they would have envisaged Dele Alli’s rapid acclimatisation to the heat of the Premier League.
Chelsea might have held off Tottenham’s latest title challenge, but the north Londoners were many a neutral’s champion, playing with an indubitable swagger of which Alli was the primary exponent.
Already a mainstay for his national team, the 21-year-old was voted Young Player of the Year for 2016/17 by his fellow professionals - for the second consecutive season - and has formed a clinical partnership with countryman Harry Kane, with hope burgeoning that the pair will be poster boys for club and country for years to come.
“He’s a bit different to all the players that play now at his age. He’s so experienced. His energy, his character, his quality. I think he is a unique player.” – Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham Hotspur manager.
A serial prankster off the pitch, Alli is a fierce competitor on it, and if media scrutiny has suppressed English soccer stars of the past, he relishes the responsibility without abandoning the street soccer style that makes him so watchable.
If Alli’s current beneficiaries are still basking in the glory of a rare soccer bargain, their next task will be to fend off a host of Europe’s elite clubs, all of whom would be more than prepared to prise away one of the sport’s most exciting talents. SC