Just when you thought it was safe to exhale a bit regarding Toby Alderweireld, there are more signs of bad news. Dan Kilpatrick writes for ESPN today that there is indeed trouble brewing between the Belgian center back and Tottenham Hotspur as they try and re-negotiate his contract, and that there are concerns that Spurs might now be considering selling Toby in the summer to cash in on his peak value.
Toby’s still on his original contract from when he signed with Spurs from Atletico Madrid, and it’s set to expire in 2019. Spurs can exercise an option to extend that contract by a year, but doing so triggers a £25.7m release clause, and he could potentially leave Spurs for another club for significantly less than what he’s worth in today’s market.
So it’s no wonder that Spurs want to try and get him onto a new contract without any pesky clauses. The problem, according to Kilpatrick, is that Toby’s representatives are demanding weekly wages of £150k/wk, which would put him above Spurs’ current top earner, Harry Kane. Kilpatrick reports that contract talks broke down last month.
Tom Collomosse writes something similar in the Standard, but goes a bit further, suggesting that despite outward appearances and a two-hour meeting before the Juventus match, there are cracks in the relationship between Alderweireld and Pochettino.
Alderweireld had a two-hour meeting with Pochettino last week but in the period before that, Standard Sport understands he would have appreciated a little more clarity on when he might be restored to the side.
The revival of players who looked to have reached the end of the line under Pochettino — notably Mousa Dembele in 2015 — means nothing can be ruled out, and Alderweireld is expected to play in Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Rochdale. At this stage, though, there is work to do to rebuild the relationship between player and club.
I really don’t know what to think about this. Yes, Spurs have a wage structure, but you have to think that with the additional finances coming in from the stadium that structure is certain to be modified somewhat. £150k/week doesn’t seem at all unreasonable for Toby, who is legitimately one of the best center backs in the world.
On the other hand, if you cock your head and squint you can make an argument for cashing in on Toby this summer, assuming the contract impasse can’t be resolved. It wouldn’t surprise me if Toby could command around £80m in today’s market. Selling Toby would presume that Spurs have full confidence in Davinson Sanchez to continue to improve, and that Juan Foyth would also have a step up in responsibility going forward. It’s likely that Toby would be sold within the Premier League as well, unless PSG or one of the big Spanish clubs are interested.
Finally, selling Toby would mean, well, that we no longer have one of the best central defenders in world football. And if you think that sounds an awful lot like the Kyle Walker transfer, you’d be right.
Kilpatrick writes that both sides want to continue negotiations, and I hope that’s right. Toby is 29 now, but is certainly good for at least one more good contract. Spurs locking him down keeps their defense at an elite level for the next few years as they move into the new stadium. Right now it’s looking like they’ll be forced to choose between paying Toby what he’s worth, and cashing in on him sooner than they’d like.