Talk about a turnaround! Six months ago, Toby Alderweireld had one foot out of the door at Tottenham Hotspur. Now, everything has changed. Spurs announced via its social media channels and on its official website that Alderweireld has abruptly done a turnaround, and has signed a new 3.5 year contract that will keep him at Spurs until the end of the 2023 season! His new contract also includes a substantial bump in wages to £150k/week.
The Belgian central defender had been in negotiations for a new contract for years, but had turned down several significant offers from Spurs. Last season he had a clause in his contract that triggered a £25m release clause, considered well below his value. But strangely, nobody made a bid for him in the summer transfer window, and Toby entered into the final year of his contract with the expectation that he would leave the club this summer on a free transfer.
The thinking at the time was that he had drastically mistaken the market for his services and that he had left money on the table to go ply his trade elsewhere. There was even a period where Mauricio Pochettino started leaving him on the bench. Through it all, Toby has been a model professional, playing when asked and not letting the ongoing contract dispute be a distraction to him while at the club.
But then Pochettino was out, Jose Mourinho was in, and everything changed. Toby has put in some absolutely massive defensive performances under Mourinho this season, and his commitment to the club means that he will effectively end his career in lilywhite — if he stays until 2023, he will be 34.
Pochettino’s tactics mean that the older you get the less likely you are to be successful due to his the intensity and physical demands. That’s not necessarily the case under Mourinho, and it’s very possible that Alderweireld will continue to be a top-drawer central defender under Jose for the next few years. Certainly Mou will be happy to lean on Toby as the heart of his defensive line for the next few seasons.
It’s an exciting turnaround for Tottenham, and I couldn’t be happier! Welcome back, Toby!