There are numerous signs, and they’re all worrying if you’re a Spurs fan.
Folks, I’m not going to lie to you here. Things are looking pretty bleak right now if you’re a Tottenham Hotspur supporter who likes the idea of Toby Alderweireld remaining a Spurs player. An article in Belgian outlet HLN by Kristof Terreur has suggested in pretty strong terms that Spurs have formally backed off from contract negotiations with Alderweireld amidst his demands for a top-level wage, and are now open to selling him for a fee of around €50m.
Terreur writes that while Toby is publicly supportive of Spurs and his teammates (as evident by his social media postings and public statements) and that he doesn’t want to rock the boat out of respect, there are significant cracks in the relationship between himself and Tottenham. Spurs are holding firm to the club’s wage ceiling of around £100k/week, while Toby wants to be paid along the same lines as Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk at around £160/wk.
Contrary to prior reports, Terreur says that Spurs actually pulled the plug on negotiations back in January after they reached an impasse, and compared the treatment of Alderweireld by manager Mauricio Pochettino to that of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, both players who spoke out about contract issues and were later marginalized within the squad.
The latest news from the Belgium national team could provide more evidence for this view. According to the Evening Standard, manager Roberto Martinez has declared Toby fully fit to play for his country in this week’s international break. That would seem to contradict Pochettino’s statements which have suggested that the club were being careful with him to avoid another injury to his hamstring, and Terreur says that this has further strained the relationship between Toby and Tottenham.
Kristof Terreur is a highly respected Belgian reporter based in London whose beat includes Belgian players in the Premier League. He’s been a reliable source of information in the past regarding Spurs’ Belgian contingent and rarely resorts to unsourced information or hyperbole. That in itself makes these rumors extremely troubling and suggests to me that there’s a very real chance that Alderweireld will not be a part of Tottenham’s squad when they start the new season next year, assuming Spurs can find a buyer. The article doesn’t paint Spurs in a particularly positive light, which is unsurprising, but still a disappointing development.
The extension clause in Toby’s existing contract is well-known by now, which suggests again that Spurs would be ready to cut bait on him this summer to get as much money as they can for him now. The latest rumors link PSG as monitoring his status along with Barcelona and Manchester United.
These kinds of situations aren’t unsalvageable, but it does sound like the club is taking a hard line with Toby’s contract situation. I don’t know if there’s a way back from this now. It might be time to start preparing yourself to say goodbye.