It hasn’t even taken until the end of the season for the first cracks to appear in Tottenham Hotspur’s armor. First there was the news that Kyle Walker is considering his future at Spurs and may ask to leave the club this summer. Now, there’s a new wrinkle in the Toby Alderweireld transfer saga.
You may recall that rumors have appeared in the media lately saying that Alderweireld was holding out on agreeing to a new Spurs contract. This in itself isn’t especially unusual; Toby’s already under contract until 2019, and Spurs reportedly have an option to trigger a one-year extension to his existing deal.
However, should Spurs trigger that option, then a £25m release clause immediately takes effect, which will put lots of other clubs on notice that he’s potentially available. Considering the number of clubs that would be interested in Toby, widely considered one of the best central defenders in the league, Spurs are naturally not that keen on letting the situation get to that point.
Last week, we reported that Spurs and Toby were opening negotiations to double his wages to around £100k/week, i.e. the top of Spurs’ wage scale. However, an article in the Times suggests that Toby is stalling because he wants another release clause inserted in whatever new deal he may sign at Tottenham.
Release clauses are unheard of at Tottenham. In fact, we were shocked that Toby had one in his current contract. Daniel Levy hates to give up leverage in future player negotiations, and that’s exactly what a release clause does: it guarantees that another club can begin direct negotiations with a player so long as they agree to pay the club the amount stipulated in the clause. Players love them because it allows them to potentially get out of a bad situation at a club if another club wants them badly enough.
The obvious solution for Spurs is to agree to Toby’s demands, but make the clause something high enough that they feel they’ll get appropriate value out of the player if the clause is met. Something along the lines of £80m, for example, would be great. However, we don’t know if Spurs are willing to do so, or if agreeing would create a precedent that would open the floodgates for other players to demand their own release clauses.
I suspect that this will be worked out with time. Toby’s only on a reported £53k/week, which is stupid low, and he no doubt wants to be paid. Spurs want him on a new contract and are probably willing to give him a nice pay rise for being very good at football. That sounds to me like good starting points for negotiations, and both sides have a good year to work out the details.