In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed has shed a bit of light on the south coast club’s failed capture of Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.
Southampton signed Alderweireld initially on a loan deal from Atletico Madrid back in 2014. And after a very successful season, where the Belgium international was able to help guide his side to a seventh-placed finish, the Saints wanted to bring him in permanently.
In the end, though, Ronald Koeman and Southampton were beaten to his signature by Tottenham despite everything already being agreed, something confirmed by Reed.
“I was disappointed with Toby going to Tottenham,” he exclusively told FFC. “We’d agreed everything in terms of his contract and his salary. And, in the end, we actually offered more than Tottenham.
“We had invoked the option [to buy]. Tottenham offered a little bit more than that, so I was ready to go by plane. I was on my way to the airport to fly out to Atletico and get the deal done on the basis that we eventually said to Atletico, ‘Ok, we’ll pay more than the option.’
“And on my way I got a call from Toby’s camp to say he definitely wants to go to Tottenham Hotspur, so we couldn’t have done more to get that one done.”
Since then, Alderweireld has gone on to become arguably one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, earning a place in the 2016 PFA Team of the Year.
The 32-year-old has had his injury problems but, even so, you would have to say he is definitely one that got away from Southampton’s perspective.