Toby Alderweireld has revealed he had no intention to leave Tottenham Hotspur in the summer and never came close to an exit, he told Sky Sports.
Heavily linked with a move to Manchester United over the course of the summer, many Tottenham fans believed they would be starting the Premier League season without Belgium international Toby Alderweireld – but he claims that was never going to be the case.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Alderweireld denied claims he wanted to leave the North London side and added he was never close to an exit – although the comments will do nothing to end the speculation about his long-term future.
Alderweireld has entered the final year of his contract with Mauricio Pochettino’s side and, although Spurs possess an ability to trigger a one-year extension, activating that would allow the player to be snatched by a rival club for a release clause of just £25m.
“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.”
Unfortunately for Tottenham fans, the fact that Alderweireld neglected to speak about his future or the optional clause that Spurs possess, or the resulting release clause, suggests that this saga shows no signs of coming to a halt.
Alderweireld has featured in the last three Premier League matches for Spurs, establishing himself back amongst the starting XI, but faces stiff competition to retain that spot from the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham must swiftly come to a decision on where they stand with Alderweireld and whether he is expendable. If he is, then the extension clause should be activated to hand Spurs the chance to earn £25m from his sale, which could in turn affect a potential move for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, whom they reportedly saw a £48m bid rejected for in the summer.
If Pochettino deems Alderweireld to be a crucial part of his side, then Daniel Levy and the club’s board must do all they can to secure the 29-year-old down to a new contract to bring a swift end to a lengthy saga.