For months, Toby Alderweireld has quietly gone about his business while refusing to sign a new contract at Tottenham Hotspur. We’ve known about it for a long time, and most Spurs fans were resigned to the likelihood that, now that he’s in the last year of his contract, Toby would be leaving the club in June.
That may no longer be the case. Belgian outlet DH is now reporting that the departure of Mauricio Pochettino and appointment of Jose Mourinho could change things and that Alderweireld “is ready to start new negotiations” with Tottenham.
We should be careful here — there are no quotes, no reports of background sources. It’s just a statement from a Belgian sports paper. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, of course, but it’s the kind of report that we normally narrow our eyes at.
Having Toby interested in a new deal would obviously be a positive development. Spurs were staring down the barrel of potentially losing both Alderweireld and his compatriot Jan Vertonghen this summer to Bosmans, which would represent significant turnover in a defensive line that’s already struggling this season. Having at least Toby stick around would help in that regard.
If he is reopening talks, Toby will have significant leverage. He’s free to sign a pre-contract with any club he wants in January, and having already rejected wages of around £100k/week from Spurs he could use that to his advantage to get an even better deal. However, the fact that Toby has been a consummate professional with all this contract stuff swirling about is also a positive sign — it doesn’t seem, at the very least, that he’s ready to down his tools and sulk.
Spurs have Davinson Sanchez and (presumably) Juan Foyth ready to step up defensively, but thus far they haven’t shown that they are as good as Toby and Jan. Keeping at least one of them around would give Mourinho something to build upon over the next couple of years, even as Alderweireld heads into his fourth decade of life. But let’s not take this report at face value just yet.