The calculus surrounding a move that would see Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial switch places is starting to get complicated.
The latest reports — from ESPN and the Telegraph — are painting a complex picture that is beginning to cast doubts on whether either deal will get done. Spurs are almost certainly going to sell Toby Alderweireld somewhere this summer, if they can get a good price for him, and the club most closely linked to him is United.
However, the Telegraph is suggesting that a huge bid for a player like Toby, who turns 30 this coming year, might not be a slam dunk sale for United as he would command a fee of at least £50m and would have little resale value going forward. Combine that with the longstanding difficulties in negotiations between United and Spurs and a deal is far from certain at this stage, even with Tottenham having motivation to do their business early.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino still apparently likes Martial quite a bit, but ESPN is citing SOURCES that say that United is hesitant to sell him unless “he pushes for a move.” It’s kind of hard to imagine that he wouldn’t want to move away from Jose Mourinho after he basically replaced him with Alexis Sanchez in January and pushed him to the fringes of the United squad. That decision, which dramatically limited his minutes in the second half of the season, probably contributed his missing out on France’s World Cup squad this summer.
Even so, it’s not clear that United would sell Martial to Spurs, or that Martial would want to come to north London. The same ESPN report is claiming that United would rather sell him to a club outside of the Premier League, like Juventus. It’s not clear whether the absence of a deal for Martial could scupper any potential deal with United for Alderweireld.
The simplest and easiest solution would be a straight player swap, but don’t expect that to happen. Actual player swaps are super rare in English football, and it doesn’t appear as though either club is willing to do that. It’s also super likely that both clubs have alternate targets in mind if they can’t get the deal they want.
As always, these articles rely on anonymous SOURCES that may or may not be accurate. Maybe the clubs are continuing to hash things out, or maybe they aren’t. We work with what we’re given. However, it sure sounds like at this point things could take a while, if they happen at all.