Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld has found himself out of the team as of late, and now he’s been linked with a summer exit…
According to Voetbal24, Belgian and Europa League outfit Club Brugge are eyeing up a move for the 31-year-old at the end of the season in an attempt to bring him back to his home country.
Alderweireld has also been mooted with a return to the Eredivisie after De Telegraaf noted interest from PSV Eindhoven. However, that would be hard to believe given his ties to former club Ajax, one of their arch-rivals.
Whilst it remains to be seen what the future holds for Alderweireld and Jose Mourinho’s plans for Spurs in the long run, it would be a disastrous decision to let the veteran leave anytime soon.
Yes, he’s fallen out of the starting XI in recent weeks being usurped by Joe Rodon for their fixtures against lowly Fulham and Sheffield United, but a heavy fixture list is on the horizon as the Europa League knockout stages are set to return he still has a key role to play.
Spurs only have to use Mousa Dembele as inspiration here.
In January 2019, the fellow Belgian swapped N17 for China as he joined Beijing Guoan in an £11m deal. He had entered the final six months of his contract, unlike Alderweireld, but it could be argued that the club should’ve tied him down to new terms.
It took a whole 18 months to finally replace the gaping hole left behind by the 33-year-old, when in reality he still had so much to give in the Premier League – his final full season in 2017/18 saw him as industrious as ever, averaging 1.3 tackles and 2.4 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.
But for Daniel Levy’s masterstroke in signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the summer, Spurs would still be looking for his long-term successor.
That scenario could well repeat itself if they were to let Alderweireld leave in the summer.
He has only started 11 of their 18 league outings this season but has still emerged as one of their most reliable players, averaging a rating of 6.97 – the best of any other centre-back, per WhoScored.
Indeed, no other Spurs defender is managing as many clearances (5.2 per game), meaning he’s quick to avert the danger, while it is only Davinson Sanchez (2) that has averaged more tackles per game than the Belgian colossus (1.8), via WhoScored.
But that’s not necessarily a good thing as a quiet centre-back is still a good one, at the end of the day.
Alderweireld has been a big part of why Spurs have the second-best defensive record in the Premier League. That includes clean sheets against Arsenal, City and Chelsea, so without him, they would be in a tricky spot – even more so as Mourinho feels they still need another centre-back.
As ex-Spurs man Paul Robinson told Football Insider, the 6 foot 2 beast is a crucial member of the squad, he said:
“I have always said that Alderweireld is the best defender at the club and he should play every week. Over the past three games, he has proved that. He is a leader on the pitch, and he should start every game between now and the end of the season.”
Whilst Sky Sports reporter Michael Bridge dubbed him “outstanding” for Spurs back in November – at the time he picked up a small injury.
Getting rid of Alderweireld merely spells disaster in the immediate future.
AND in other news, £36m “complete midfielder” can be Spurs’ ideal Dele Alli replacement…