Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly "willing to sell Toby Alderweireld" this summer after struggling to come to terms with the defender's £150,000-per-week wage demands.
The Times' Matt Hughes noted manager Mauricio Pochettino backs the board's decision not to pay such high wages to a player who turns 29 in March and has a release clause that will make him available at a low-cost fee next year:
TalkSport detailed Hughes' report that Alderweireld, who earns £50,000 per week with the north London outfit, has received a "final offer" from the club worth £110,000 per week, an offer that has since been rejected.
Since then, Alderweireld has risen to establish himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe's top leagues, but Pochettino nevertheless supports the club's decision and would opt to invest the funds elsewhere in the squad.
Alderweireld has been largely missing through injury since late October, and ESPN FC's Dan Kilpatrick bemoaned his absence as a major blow for a team that has excelled under Pochettino in recent years:
The defender's contract expires in 2019, but the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis explained Tottenham have the option to extend the deal by a year, which would then make the release clause active in 18 months.
Instead of running the risk of allowing their player to leave the club for less than market value, Spurs have decided it would be more prudent to cut their losses this summer and cash in for a more optimal figure.
There has been some speculation over whether Alderweireld has been fit to return to the side and held back, which Belgium manager Roberto Martinez recently suggested could be true, per Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws:
Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland
Roberto Martínez in @hlnsport: “I have recently had a good conversation with Toby Alderweireld. I’m happy that Spurs take their time and don’t rush him back. But of course Toby would have liked to have played against Juventus. (Smiles) His situation will need time.” #thfc #coys https://t.co/xClaphEzUe
Tottenham's desire not to break their strict wage structure has taken precedence over their ambition to retain the talents of an elite defender, a decision that's bound to attract ire from some sections of their support.
There's no word yet as to how much the north Londoners would be seeking in order to sell their centre-back, although his availability is sure to unearth a scramble among some of Europe's top clubs.