Spurs transfer blow… Southampton ‘open talks’ for sought-after star

Southampton have opened talks with Atletico Madrid over a permanent move for impressive Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld, according to reports from The Guardian.

The 26-year-old spent last season on loan at St Mary’s Stadium from the La Liga giants, and impressed as the Saints challenged for a top four berth before securing Europa League qualification.

His performances have attracted serious attention from Spurs, whose chairman Daniel Levy has reportedly jetted to Madrid to discuss a deal, while champions Chelsea have also been aligned with him.

WANT MORE? >> Spurs transfer news | Latest transfer news

However, Southampton are hopeful of keeping hold of Alderweireld, and have opened talks with Atleti in a bid to thrash out a deal.

‘Keeping’ one of their better talents from last term is sure to be a priority for the South Coast club, who have already offloaded Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool amid worries he may see out the last year of his contract and leave for free.

Manager Ronald Koeman has already suggested that Alderweireld is keen to make a permanent move to join his side:

“The player likes to stay,” he said. “We like to keep the player but it’s a little difficult at the moment with Atlético Madrid. I have a good hope he will stay for Southampton.”