The “painful rebuild” continues. At the same time Tottenham Hotspur announced the signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta, potentially a medium-term replacement for Hugo Lloris, one of Spurs’ backline starlets is currently jetting off to the Middle East to sign a deal with a new club.
The Telegraph is now reporting that Belgian center back Toby Alderweireld is heading to the Qatari league to sign with Al-Duhail in a transfer worth £13m.
In fact, according to journalist Kristoff Terreur, he’s already on the plane.
Al-Duhail expect Alderweireld in Doha later today.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) July 24, 2021
It’s not a secret that new manager Nuno Espirito Santo has wanted to revamp Tottenham’s defense, which was a major problem area last season. It’s also not a secret that Alderweireld is ready to move on to a new challenge elsewhere. Toby almost left the club two years ago before Mauricio Pochettino was fired, after becoming disillusioned with the Argentine, but signed a contract extension once Jose Mourinho became the head coach.
Now, Toby’s 32 and has had a noticeable dip in speed, despite still being a very good defender. He’s also towards the top of Tottenham’s wage scale. He has asked to leave the club and it’s probably time for both parties that he move on.
Alderweireld’s days as a top defender in a top league are probably past him, but he’s still plenty capable enough to dominate in a league like the Qatar Stars League. The article doesn’t say what Al-Duhail would pay him, but I think it’s safe to assume that he’ll be paid handsomely and will get to live in Doha, probably in lavish digs where his friends and former teammates can come visit.
With Jan Vertonghen now at Benfica, Erik Lamela heading to Sevilla and now Toby on his way to Qatar, this really does feel like the end of an era. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.