According to the Telegraph, Paris Saint Germain are set to join Manchester United and Barcelona in the race for Tottenham’s Belgian international defender Toby Alderweireld.
The report states that the Red Devils and the Catalan giants have been in pursuit of the Belgian for a while but the runaway Ligue 1 leaders are preparing themselves to join the hunt.
Alderweireld’s Tottenham contract is due to expire at the end of the 2018/19 season and talks over a new one have broken down. There is an option to trigger a one-year extension, but that would also introduce a £25m release clause in the summer of 2019.
Although that would be better than losing the player for free at that stage, and it would likely serve to prevent the defender agreeing a pre-contract deal in the middle of next season, it would still increase the likelihood of the player, valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, making a cut-price departure.
That all means Spurs are likely to listen to offers this summer, unless a new deal is agreed, thought to be in the region of £40m. United can match that easily, but so can PSG.
For all their spending in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, United only have one central defender who could be classed among the best in the Premier League, in Eric Bailly.
The Ivorian has struggled for fitness, and in any case, needs a partner. Alderweireld is as good as anyone in the Premier League – although he has struggled for fitness this season – and would be a real step up from United’s other current options.
PSG are looking to take their seat at Europe’s very top table – alongside Barcelona, Bayern and Real Madrid – and make an impression in the Champions League and see Alderweireld as a man who can help them do that.
However, they have such defensive talent that Unay Emery saw fit to drop Thiago Silva to the bench for the last-16 clash at the Bernabeu. While they could certainly do with Alderweireld, United’s need is certainly more urgent.
£40m, in the current market, looks like a snip for a proven Premier League defender with years of experience in this division. It is a move United simply have to make this summer and the last thing they need is PSG involved, driving the price up and, given Daniel Levy’s understandable reluctance to strengthen a domestic rival, it is likely that they would rather sell to France.