If you were to ask a typical Tottenham Hotspur fan what they want in the next month... well, most of them would say they want to sign Gareth Bale. But we’re not talking about them. The next most likely answer would be to extend Toby Alderweireld’s contract.
The Belgian has been injured the past month or so but is working his way back to fitness, and his return has only brought up his contract status. Toby is one of the only Tottenham stars who has not received an improved contract since 2015 — he is still on the original contract he signed after coming from Atletico Madrid, reportedly £75k/week.
Asked again about Alderweireld’s contract in a press conference, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino tried to diffuse any lingering supporter angst by essentially saying: Yo, we got this, chill out.
“This is a message for our fans and for everyone: Toby still has two-and-a-half years of contract. Messi was six months left on his contract. Messi! If something happens [on Alderweireld], the club is going to communicate. But I don’t understand all these things when the players are all under contract.
“It’s two and a half years. Daniel Levy said to me: ‘Don’t worry, gaffer. It’s two and a half years.’
“Players like Érik Lamela still haven’t signed [new contracts]. Or another player signs with two years left. It’s different contexts, different reasons. It’s not only to say the club needs to do this and this. Calm. Calm, our fans. Because Daniel is very good. He has managed the club for 17 or 18 years. Look at how Tottenham was 18 years ago and how it is today. I think full credit to Daniel. Let him work. It is important the fans trust in Daniel.”
Toby’s contract runs until the summer of 2019, but Spurs can extend Alderweireld’s contract by a year should they so desire. However, if they do so, it automatically triggers a £25m release clause that takes effect six months before his contract expires in the summer of 2020.
Pochettino isn’t in charge of player contracts and negotiations — Levy is, and we already know that he’s extremely good at his job. Poch made that clear in the book by Guillem Balague this fall. But Poch is also correct in that there’s still lots of time to work out a deal that will (hopefully) make everyone happy. From everything I’ve read, Alderweireld is happy at Spurs and isn’t looking to leave. Sure, he wants more money — what player doesn’t? — but neither he nor Spurs seem to be in a hurry to rush through a transfer negotiation. That’s fine.
In short, Pochettino has told us not to worry, and that everything will be fine. I’m not, and it will.