Getty Images

Toby Alderweireld to Man United for $34 million?

Leave a comment

$34 million for Toby Alderweireld? $34 million for Toby Alderweireld.

How on earth can that be the case? Well, his agent inserted a clause in the Belgian defenders contract at Tottenham which kicked in when Spurs recently triggered a one-year extension.

That meant that Alderweireld now has a release clause less than half of what is likely his market value and he will be available in the final two weeks of the summer transfer window. With just over a year left on his current contract at Spurs, they will have no choice but to sell him.

Genius from his agent. Not so smart from Spurs.

The Daily Mirror state that Spurs have all but given up hope of keeping hold of Alderweireld beyond this summer and believe he will head to Old Trafford.

Alderweireld, 30, can now demand pretty hefty wages from whichever club he signs for, and he will certainly be paid a lot more than he is getting at Spurs. The Belgian star was rested for their game at Southampton last weekend and Tottenham lost 2-1, as they badly missed his calming influence in the heart of their defense.

After signing from Atletico Madrid in 2015, Alderweireld has been a regular for Spurs after he excelled in the Premier League on loan at Southampton the 2014-15 campaign.

The way he can play out of the back, but also make defending his number one priority is probably only bettered by Virgil Van Dijk in the Premier League and Alderweireld’s ability to play at center back or right back is a massive advantage.

With Barcelona and Juventus also said to be sniffing around Alderweireld, United will be desperate to add a center back of his quality to their team.

It has been a problem area for the Red Devils in recent seasons. Chris Smalling has been solid but unspectacular, while Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly have been injured a lot and the latter has really struggled this season.

If United can grab Alderweireld for $34 million, it will be one of the best bits of business they’ve done since signing Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra over a decade ago. In many ways this is the perfect signing and should be pushed ahead regardless of if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the permanent head coach or not.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal reinforcement, Fulham striker, Saints exit

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The January transfer window is upon us, and while Chelsea has already made what could end up being the splash of the winter in signing Christian Pulisic, there are plenty more rumors to be had. January is often a time for bargain hunting, and while the Pulisic move bucks that trend, clubs that need immediate reinforcements will often look for players who want out of their current position immediately.

[ MORE: Hudson-Odoi leaving Chelsea | Emery denies Navas ]

So, that’s where we begin today’s roundup. Southampton is in massive trouble at the bottom of the Premier League table, sitting 18th and firmly in the relegation battle. Beyond rumors, new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has come out and confirmed that a few key players could depart this January as teams pick apart the Southampton squad in preparation for their potential drop.

Hasenhuttl singled out players like Steven Davis and Manolo Gabbiadini as a pair who could pack their bags, with the Italian striker seemingly the more likely of the two to find greener pastures. Gabbiadini has not played a single minute under the German boss, scoring just one goal this season before Mark Hughes was fired. The 27-year-old came over from Napoli in the January 2017 transfer window and made an immediate impact, but has fallen completely off the table since as Southampton continues to struggle for Premier League safety.

In addition, while there are no solid rumors yet, freelance journalist Graham Ruthven speculates that another player who could be attractive to clubs could be midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg whose contract expires in the summer of 2021 and is considered a bright talent at just 23 years old. Still, giving clubs pause is his lack of discipline this season, having already sat one match for yellow card accumulation before finding himself riding the pine on a four-game suspension for a miserable challenge on Fernandinho in the dying minutes of a recent defeat to Manchester City.


While Saints looks to do its best to keep the talent at St. Mary’s, fellow relegation candidate Fulham is hoping to secure reinforcements as the Whites look to protect their massive summer investment. The club has enjoyed a small uptick in form under new manager Claudio Ranieri, but the defense still looks horrific, especially against the bigger and better clubs. While the back line is the most concerning aspect of the squad at the moment, Fulham has also struggled to convert solid chances into goals up front, with Aleksandar Mitrovic proving a hard worker but not always able to convert those chances. According to Sky Italy, Fulham is one of three clubs interested in Roma striker Gregoire Defrel, currently on loan at Sampdoria. The report says Watford and West Ham are also interested, but mentions that the Hammers could back off after signing Samir Nasri to a deal after a trial.

Defrel has scored six goals in 18 matches for Sampdoria so far this season, although four of those came on a pair of braces by the third game of the season, and has since grabbed just two in 891 Serie A minutes since. While Watford will be looking for players to assist them in their battle for a top-half place, Fulham may be not just more motivated but more desperate. The Thursday edition of Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport declares that Fulham is “in the lead” for the 27-year-old Frenchman.


While Fulham looks for attacking help, Arsenal is hoping to snag defensive reinforcements as the Gunners have had injuries and poor form plague their back line all season. Sitting in fifth in the table, if the Gunners are hopeful of making a run at Champions League play, they will need to fix their defensive issues with Rob Holding out long-term, Laurent Koscielny injury-prone at 33 years old, and Shkodran Mustafi barely back from a hamstring problem of his own. Only new signing Sokratis has made it through the festive period unscathed, and now manager Unai Emery will look to bring in help from the outside.

According to The Mirror, Arsenal is set for a battle with Torino for 27-year-old center-back Nicolas N’Koulou. The Cameroon international only joined Torino this summer, but his contract expires in the summer of 2020 leaving the Italian club with little options should they wish to turn their paltry $4 million investment into a large profit. N’Koulou has helped Torino to one of the most impressive defensive displays in Serie A this season, conceding just 19 goals in 19 matches, the fifth-best defensive record in the league behind the top three teams Juventus, Napoli, and Inter plus Fiorentina. Unfortunately for Torino, they have struggled mightily in front of net, supporting that defensive unit with just 24 goals, leaving them ninth in the table, just above Fiorentina who also has trouble scoring goals.

N’Koulou is as experienced as they come, with 72 caps for the Cameroon international team plus 19 Champions League appearances with Lyon and Marseille before his switch to the Italian top flight. The Mirror suggests that Torino “are keen to hold onto” N’Koulou, understandably given his importance to the club having played every single minute of the league season thus far, but his contract situation could force the club’s hand should they wish to earn a profit on his presence.


There is plenty of talk surrounding Toby Alderweireld this January, and understandably so. Spurs activated a clause in the Belgian’s contract that keeps him at the club an additional season, but also triggers the presence of a $31 million release clause that is activated during the early portion of the summer transfer window. Given Alderweireld’s market value of significantly higher than that, Spurs could be motivated to shop him this winter in the hopes of earning a higher return, avoiding losing him for such a small price this summer.

According to The Telegraph, French club Paris Saint-Germain could be interested in sweetening the pot for Alderweireld to ensure they are given priority in the race, reporting that the French side “could offer” fellow Belgian Thomas Meunier in return for Alderweireld. Meunier, a right-back, was one of Belgium’s more surprisingly impressive players at this summer’s World Cup and has parlayed that into 12 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG this season. It would be somewhat surprising that PSG would allow Meunier to leave given Dani Alves’ age and injury history, but his positional flexibility would be a good fit for Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, with the ability to move forward and play wing-back should he be deployed in support of a back-three.

Report: Barcelona, Man United to battle for Alderweireld

Getty Images
1 Comment

Toby Alderweireld‘s situation at Tottenham Hotspur still hasn’t been figured out, and the latest report from the Daily Mirror claims that both Barcelona and Manchester United want to sign the Belgian star.

[ MORE: Mane joins Liverpool’s injury list ]

Alderweireld, 29, has a contract with Spurs which runs out in the summer but the north London club have the option to extend his deal until the summer of 2020. ‘So what’s the big deal?’ I hear you cry.

Well, the former Atletico Madrid and Southampton defender has a release clause in his contract which kicks in if Tottenham trigger the extension, and that clause means he can be bought for a paltry $33 million in the final two weeks of the 2019 summer window.

Given his pedigree as one of the top 10 center backs on the planet, that is a bargain.

Per the report, Spurs are said to be open to a deal in January and Barca want defensive reinforcements, while Alderweireld said the following this week while away on international duty with Belgium.

“Honestly, I am absolutely not thinking about it at the moment. I feel good, play a lot right now and, therefore, am happy. We shall see.”

With Alderweireld and Spurs failing to agree to a new deal so far, he was left out of the team on multiple occasions by Mauricio Pochettino last season as the Argentine coach is known to not look kindly on players who haven’t signed up to be a part of his project long-term. Yet this season he has started seven of Spurs’ eight PL games and is once again their main man in defense, especially with Jan Vertonghen out injured.

Where would be a better landing spot for Alderweireld in January?

Choosing between Barcelona and United is a tough one. Hear me out. Of course, if you go to Barcelona you’re guaranteed to play in the Champions League each season and you will be challenging for trophies too. At United, though, he will have the chance to be their top center back and he could be a key part in any resurgence under Jose Mourinho. The fact that Alderweireld could be picked up in a cut-price deal in January also means he will be able to demand higher wages too, so he’s in a pretty good spot in terms of the latest bumper deal of his career.

His agent has worked wonders to get him in this situation as Spurs will have to give Alderweireld a huge pay rise if he is to remain with them beyond January. Right now, the vultures are circling to pick up one of Europe’s best center backs in a great deal.

Tottenham leave out key players for UCL clash at Inter Milan

AP
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur have left two key players in London ahead of their trip to play Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Is Harry Kane tired? ]

Mauricio Pochettino has decided not to take Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld to Italy for “technical reasons” as Spurs will be without several stars for their UCL opener against Inter. Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko are also out injured.

Speaking at the San Siro to the media on Monday, Pochettino was guarded when asked exactly why he has left Trippier and Alderweireld behind.

“I never punish players because you win or lose. It is always the plan. The plan is to keep them there and use different players to play tomorrow,” Pochettino explained. “We are going to play with different players tomorrow. We believe the best decision is to play with different players.”

What is going on here?

Trippier was one of the best right backs at the 2018 World Cup and was a star for England, while Alderweireld is no doubt a veteran leader in Spurs’ defense. Tottenham had a rough time, especially defensively, against Liverpool at the weekend and although Trippier and Alderweireld weren’t directly to blame, this could point to them suffering from fatigue.

Spurs have been impacted by the World Cup more than any other PL team as the majority of the regular starting lineup went to the latter stages of the tournament in Russia, then returned to Tottenham without a preseason.

Harry Kane‘s fitness has been questioned but this decision from Pochettino suggests he may rotate his squad heavily in the coming weeks as he tries to keep his star players fit and fresh.

Aldewerireld says he never wanted to leave Spurs last summer

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”

[ MORE: Moshiri increases Everton stake, plans more by the summer ]

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.

[ MORE: Gareth Southgate stays quiet on new England contract ]

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.