Toby Alderweireld has revealed that he was never close to leaving Tottenham Hotspur this summer, despite reported interest from Manchester United, after he was informed that “Tottenham wanted to keep me.”
Speaking about the summer-long saga for the first time, Alderweireld classified reports that he was wanted to force through a move away from Tottenham as “not true.” An agreement was never reached between the two clubs, however, so he can say what he likes without ever having had to actually make a choice one way or the other.
The Belgian center back has one year remaining on his contract, but the current deal has a one-year extension option which features a $32.5-million release clause. With another transfer saga looming in nine months’ time, Alderweireld insists his place in Spurs’ first team is the only thing that matters — quotes from Sky Sports:
“Everyone was saying everywhere that I absolutely wanted to leave Tottenham. That’s not true. This summer, I quickly understood Tottenham wanted to keep me.
“So, I had to battle to get my place back in the team. To be in the first team again is a victory for me. I just try to help Tottenham as best I can with my qualities. Regarding my future, everything that was said in the press was not right all the time.
Alderweireld will turn 30 before the end of the 2018-19 season, and while he won’t have a million miles on his body after playing sparingly for two years as he transitioned from Ajax to Atletico Madrid and finally to Southampton before becoming the full-time workhorse at Spurs, his lengthy history of lingering lower-body injuries will give Mauricio Pochettino and Co., the most pause for concern as they weigh up one more potential long-term deal.