One of the biggest long term question marks concerning a Tottenham Hotspur player remain the contract situation of Toby Alderweireld. The defender is still on his original contract that he signed when he transferred to Spurs from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2015, and while many of his teammates have received new contracts in the ensuing years, Toby has not.
There have been rumors that Toby’s representatives have been in negotiations with the club for a new contract since last December, though some of that has been disputed. Nevertheless, that’s led to some mild concern among the soccerati and Tottenham fans, especially after Alderwiereld’s manager went public a few weeks ago saying that Spurs needed to either offer him a competitive new contract or sell him.
But while on international duty with Belgium, Toby has come out and said that he’s happy at Spurs, has spoken about it with Mauricio Pochettino, and isn’t worried about his contract status.
"I had a good conversation with the manager. I told him I'm focused on football, to keep my game up and help the team.
"That's all I can do. You can see I'm happy there, and I try to help the team, and that's the way I always play football.
Asked if he had yet been made an offer by the club, he said: "No, like I said, I am focused on football. The rest, I don't know, we will see about that."
— Lyall Thomas, Sky Sports
Toby is currently on a contract with Tottenham through 2019, and Spurs also have the option to extend that contract out another year through 2020. However, should they do that, it would automatically trigger a £25m release clause. Toby would be 31 years old by the time his original contract expires in 2020.
It seems likely that Spurs would like to renegotiate Toby’s contract, both to give him a pay raise, and also to get rid of that pesky release clause, which would give the club further leverage if and when he is sold. But it’s taking a long time and that’s making fans nervous.
Last month, Pochettino seemed to corroborate Toby’s report of a meeting, saying that Alderweireld’s doing fine and while the contract dispute may be a distraction, he’s not at all worried about Toby.
"It is true, there is a lot of rumours in the last few days. He was talking with me in my office this morning.
"He is happy, he wants to make fully clear his position that he is fully committed to the club. He is happy with his contract - two years plus one - but it is not easy.
"I recognise that in the last few days there have been some rumours but he is so happy and so calm. His idea is to try and play here and he has no reason to move."
These comments from Pochettino and Toby will probably do little to settle the nerves over Alderweireld’s long-term future at Spurs, but it does assuage some fears that he’s unhappy and is agitating for a move away. Hopefully this situation gets settled sooner rather than later.