According to reports from The Guardian, Jose Mourinho is targeting Tottenham centre-half Toby Alderweireld in bid to refresh Manchester United’s defence – a need that was highlighted in Saturday’s FA Cup final when Phil Jones failed to deal with Eden Hazard on the counter-attack and conceded the decisive penalty.
Uncertainty over the Belgium international’s future in north London has persisted for some time. Coinciding with his reluctance to sign a new contract beyond 2020, which includes a release clause for next summer, Mauricio Pochettino has steadily frozen out Alderweireld during the second half of the season – tellingly leaving him on the bench for arguably Spurs’ biggest fixture of the campaign, the FA Cup semi-final with United.
At first glance, agreeing a deal with the Red Devils seems an unwise move on Tottenham’s part, purely because they’re handing top-class defender to a divisional rival. But could there be greater positive than negative repercussions to this deal, which The Guardian believe could surpass the value of Virgil van Dijk’s record-breaking move to Liverpool? Football FanCast take look at the potential consequences…
London Evening Standard report that Anthony Martial is one of Tottenham’s top summer targets and the logic behind their interest certainly makes sense.
Serving as understudy to Harry Kane has proved an impossible task for Spurs’ last two striker signings, Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, so Tottenham are keen to sign an alternative who can share the load with Kane up top but also play out wide or as part of the midfield.
The France international fits the bill perfectly, and especially considering The Guardian’s prediction of a new record fee for a defender, reducing that sum by including Martial in a player-plus-cash swap deal could appeal to the Red Devils too.
Tottenham have been strongly linked in recent months with Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, who is probably the most highly-rated teenage defender in European football right now, and selling Alderweireld would not only free up room for him in the squad but furthermore provide the funds to get a deal over the line.
Spurs will certainly need to pay top dollar for the young Dutchman, with Manchester City also mooted as potential suitors.
With de Ligt by no means the finished article though, Alderweireld’s departure could see Pochettino use two young players to try and fill the Belgian’s void, and within the club’s setup Cameron Carter-Vickers remains the strongest candidate.
The 20-year-old showed glimpses of his quality this season, holding down starting berths with Sheffield United and Ipswich Town during two Championship loans, and Alderweireld’s exit could well pave the way for a Premier League debut at some point in 2018/19.
While many will feel Tottenham are continuing to move in the right direction, the warning signs are difficult to ignore. An Old Trafford move for Alderweireld – who Transfermarkt value at just £36million – will mark the second summer in a row in which Tottenham have sold a top-quality defender to a key Premier League rival, following Manchester City’s swoop for Kyle Walker last year.
Spurs’ current stance is that they won’t compromise their wage structure for any player, but it certainly hasn’t worked out too badly for the England international – he won a Premier League title during his first season at the Etihad Stadium while being paid twice as much.
That sends out a powerful message, one that’s probably motivated Alderweireld in part already, and the Belgian following Walker’s lead could well convince others to do the same. Danny Rose already appears to be on his way out, Mousa Dembele’s future remains up in the air and there are likely other Tottenham players wondering why their pay is nowhere near the levels on offer at not just Manchester City and Manchester United, but even Arsenal and Chelsea.
Unfortunately, that could well be what triggers the demise of this Tottenham team; replacing top-class players with younger, promising alternatives won’t work out every time and ambitions will inevitably start to change.
Whereas Tottenham were looking at the Premier League title a few years ago, they could soon find themselves returning to their prior status as the division’s traditional fifth-placers.
So, Tottenham fans, with those potential consequences in mind, would you sell Alderweireld to United this summer? Let us know by voting below…