Defender Stalling Over New Contract
Manchester United are being linked with Tottenham Hotspur central defender Toby Alderweireld. The news comes after the Belgium international was left behind in England as Spurs travelled to Italy for their Champions League clash with Juventus.
Reports this morning claimed United are likely to be in the market for a new central defender this summer. Jose Mourinho is believed to be unhappy with the performances of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United at St James’s Park.
Alderweireld’s relationship with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to be ‘strained’ following his omission from the squad that travelled to Italy for tonight’s match with Juventus.
But the chances of United making a successful move for Alderweireld are slim. Tottenham are unlikely to willingly part with a player whose present deal only expires next summer. The north London club have an option to extend his contract to 2020 and are mulling over whether to trigger that option this summer. If they do, then Alderweireld will be allowed to leave in the summer of 2019 for a fixed fee of €30million (currently worth £25.4million). So Tottenham have to make a decision over his future. A sale this summer is likely to yield a better price.
For his part, Alderweireld is avoiding putting pen to paper on a new deal despite talks being mooted over his current £50,000-a-week contract.
Just how bad Alderweireld’s relationship is with Pochettino can only be guessed at. However, this looks very much like a storm in a teacup. The word from Spurs is that Alderweireld’s omission from the 18-man squad that travelled to Italy is more to do with his fitness rather than any arguments with the manager.
The Belgian has played little football since picking up a hamstring injury at the beginning of November. He made his first appearance in over three months when he played in last week’s 2-0 victory over Newport County in an FA Cup Fourth Round replay.
Tottenham believe Alderweireld will be better served by staying at the club’s Spurs Lodge training complex as the best he could have hoped for in Turin was a place on the bench. He is expected to feature in this weekend’s Fifth Round tie with Rochdale.