Tottenham Hotspur will probably sell Toby Alderweireld this summer, with the only questions being to which club and for how much. Today, there’s a report that suggests that one of the leading clubs for Toby’s services could be preparing a pretty big offer.
The Manchester Evening News ran an exclusive today, reporting that Manchester United are preparing a £55m bid for Alderweireld, and that the Belgian defender has emerged as one of Jose Mourinho’s top summer targets. If true, it would be the largest ever fee paid by United for a defender.
So £55m is a lot of money for a 30-year old central defender coming off of a major hamstring injury, but this also has to be balanced by other factors, not least of which is the idea of selling Toby to a direct league rival and one of the teams that finished above Spurs in the table. Nobody is exactly thrilled about that, but Daniel Levy proved he’s not above the idea after he sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City last summer.
The article does not mention Anthony Martial at all, which is possibly one of the things that could potentially get me to sign off on this transfer. Martial is clearly in Mourinho’s doghouse for whatever reason and is probably leaving the club this summer. I don’t know about anyone else, but I could be convinced to let Toby go to United if doing so paved the way for Martial to come the other direction.
Barring that, I’m not sure there’s much of an upside here. I am hopeful that Levy would be able to get something close to that figure from PSG or some other continental club for Alderweireld in the absence of a player quid pro quo, but there are too many variables here to be confident on whether a straight Toby-for-cash deal makes sense. A lot of it could also depend on what Toby wants to do as well — he could just want to go to a place where he gets paid, or he could play hardball to force a move to where he wants to go, we just don’t know yet and there are too many variables.
It’s also important to note that this isn’t confirmation of a bid, it’s a rumor that United are preparing a bid. These happen all the time, so while it’s fun to talk about the hypothetical it’s not something we should take to the bank quite yet.
In a perfect world, we’d let Toby go to United, get Martial in return, and focus our energies on signing a player like Matthijs de Ligt as his long-term replacement. But this isn’t a perfect world.