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Could this Tottenham Hotspur star defender leave the club for just €30m?

A release clause? In a Tottenham contract? What?

Tottenham Hotspur FC v AS Monaco FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur haven’t been the subject of Football Leaks data very often. The website, which purports to release scans of footballer contracts and other information, hasn’t really touched on any Spurs or Spurs-related players since the details of Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid leaked in January.

That appears to have changed now. After taking a hiatus for several months, Football Leaks is now back. Belgian newspaper Le Soir has published several articles with a new batch of information, and it purports to have info regarding the contracts of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderweireld.

The Alderweireld information is the most interesting. According to Le Soir, Toby’s contract says that he’s earning wages of about £50k/week (which is what was suggested when he signed in 2015), and has bonuses for appearances, Champions League qualification, and a hefty image rights clause. However, the most explosive allegation is that Alderweireld’s contract has a clause that says that he can leave Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of merely €30m (£25.4m). The Le Soir article is behind a paywall, but the details were reported by Belgian journalist Kristoff Terreur:

But wait, a release clause? In a Tottenham Hotspur contract? That was negotiated by Daniel Levy?! Release clauses are rare in England, and are downright unheard of in Tottenham contracts, as Daniel Levy is a tough negotiator and doesn’t make transfer deals for his players easy on anyone. Terreur’s article in HLN also only mentions that particular clause in a one-sentence blurb that references Le Soir.

However, Terreur is a highly respected football journalist in Belgium and has been a leading source for information regarding Spurs’ Belgian players for a couple of years now. He’s not usually wrong about these kinds of things. In fact, Terrerur doubled-down on the allegations, saying that Le Soir had copies of Alderweireld’s contract in hand, but hadn’t published them yet.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard says that Spurs are vehement in their denial that any Tottenham player has a release clause in his contract. Spurs are also now apparently opening contract negotiations with Alderweireld 18 months after he first signed with the club and that would see his wages rise to about £70k/week. This may be a coincidence... but it may not be either.

It would be prudent to wait for Le Soir to publish more information about this release clause, and it’s always good to make skepticism your default position when it comes to things like anonymous leaks, but there’s a lot of smoke in the room here. Football Leaks doesn’t tend to make things up, and Terrerur isn’t usually wrong about Belgian sources. If Alderweireld really does have a release clause in his contract, that’s an very interesting, and potentially troubling, development that could make it easy for another club to swoop him up if they turn his head or if Spurs don’t qualify for the Champions League this year.