Report: Chelsea believed Lewis Baker better than Tottenham's Dele Alli

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Chelsea snubbed the chance to sign Dele Alli.

Failing to sign Dele Alli from MK Dons could be one of Chelsea's big regrets, but that will depend on how one of their own prospects kicks on.

The Mail report how Blues bosses ignored the recommendations of their own scouting department to sign Alli, because they believed Lewis Baker to be a better bet for success.

If you have not heard of Baker, that is understandable, for he is yet to start a Premier League game for Chelsea.

Alli meanwhile was seen this week scoring for England against France, having established himself at Tottenham this season.

He has seized his chance, but of course the danger would have been that if he signed for Chelsea he would have been shipped off on loan somewhere rather than playing for the first team.

Lewis Baker is undoubtedly a big talent. The central midfielder has been prolific for the under-21 side, and was a matchwinner as the club's under-18s won the FA Youth Cup two seasons ago.

He has scored 18 goals and provided 15 assists for Chelsea's under-21 side in 46 appearances, and scored five goals in eight games for the under-19s in the UEFA Youth League.

At most clubs that would be enough to earn him a first team shot, but instead he is currently out on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.

He has made the most of this so far, scoring three goals in 15 games in the Eredivisie.

Blame absolved?

While Alli is making his breakthrough this season, he actually signed for Tottenham back in January. Had he still been available in the summer, Chelsea may have made a different decision.

This time last year Baker was tearing it up for Chelsea's youth sides, but loan spells since will have given coaching staff at Chelsea reason to pause on their excitement.

He went on loan to Sheffield Wednesday in early January, a side crying out for a creative and goalscoring midfielder at the time.

His spell there was not success, failing to earn a role as a regular starter, and played a total of four games before his loan deal was cancelled by the mutual agreement of both clubs.

Baker was then loaned to MK Dons, as a replacement for Dele Alli when he faced a spell out injured. He was more successful here, scoring three times in 12 games, but the club's results dipped without Alli, and it was clear Baker was not a superior option.

Knowing all of this in the summer could have prompted the Blues to think differently, but seeing what Alli is already doing at Spurs places pressure on 20-year-old Baker to come good on his potential.

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