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Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld shows Marko Arnautovic how it’s done

Toby Alderweireld has been a model professional throughout a season and a summer that has been defined by one number: £25m.

That is the value of the clause within his contract that expires this Thursday.

It could have seen him depart for a relative pittance in an already inflated transfer market and, really, it is nothing short of a miracle that Spurs have been able to keep hold of him.

This is a truly exceptional defender, the kind who reminds one of Rio Ferdinand, regularly leaving the pitch with his shorts as pristine as they were when he jogged on before play began. He has made 159 appearances for the club, with 50 coming last season. He played 90 minutes in the Champions League final and has forged a genuinely brilliant partnership with compatriot Jan Vertonghen in central defence.

He could have asked for a transfer. He could have pushed. Reports suggest that Roma and Manchester United both expressed an interest but neither matched that clause.

Alderweireld has kept his head down, kept going and actually captained Spurs to a 3-2 pre-season win over Juventus last weekend.

When asked about his future after the game, he said: “Because from day one I do what I need to do. I am happy,” he said. “I think that is the way the manager wants us to play, to give everything to the team and work hard and that’s it. I am here I work hard and do what needs to be done.

“It’s tough because pre-season is tough. I do my best like in every club I’ve been at. From day one I do my best.”

Compare this to Marko Arnautovic, the striker who forced his way out of West Ham United at the beginning of the summer transfer window.

Now, admittedly, these are two completely different players with different profiles and, clearly, different motivations.

Yet their situations were similar.

Arnautovic signed a new contract in January and insisted, per sources, that a clause be included in the deal that would allow him to leave for £45m in this transfer window.

A bid was tabled from Shanghai SIPG that did not come anywhere close to that. It was roughly £19.7m.

Arnautovic insisted it be accepted. Per sources, he made it very clear that he expected to be allowed to move to China in this transfer window.

Eventually, West Ham were forced to cave. He did this in January, too, but manager Manuel Pellegrini believed he could work with him and coax the best out of him.

He threw that back in his face by insisting upon his departure and once a bid of £22.5m came in, the club were genuinely glad to see the back of him. FFC sources have confirmed that Pellegrini sanctioned his sale and that players were also consulted.

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Compare and contrast. Where Arnautovic forced his way out, Alderweireld has been a model professional.

There could still be a bid. United could come back in if their mooted pursuit of Harry Maguire does not bear any fruit.

But Spurs fans have no need to worry. There will not be a repeat of the situation across London.

Alderweireld has too much class for that, too much dignity, and too much respect for the badge he plays for.

He has put Arnautovic to shame and, even if he does leave, Spurs fans will have to applaud the professionalism of a player who has been a shining example to all throughout his spell in north London.

Article title: Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld shows Marko Arnautovic how it’s done

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