Toby Alderweireld Dismisses Rumours Manchester United Move Was Close This Summer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham FC at Wembley Stadium on August 18, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld has said he didn't come close to leaving the club this summer despite links to Manchester United.

Having lost his spot in the Spurs side last season, the Belgium international faced speculation about possibly moving on ahead of the 2018-19 term, with the Red Devils strongly linked with a move. When asked about the prospect, Alderweireld said there was never a time when he thought he may leave Tottenham.

"Everyone was saying everywhere that I absolutely wanted to leave Tottenham," he said at a news conference, per ESPN.com. "That's not true. This summer, I quickly understood Tottenham wanted to keep me. So, I had to battle to get my place back in the team. To be in the first team again is a victory for me."

According to ESPN FC sources, the Old Trafford club made an offer of £50 million in an attempt to secure the signing of Alderweireld, although that was £20 million short of the valuation Tottenham have of their defender.

As noted in the initial report, speculation about the 29-year-old's position in north London is unlikely to cease, as he's yet to agree an extension to the contract that runs out in 2020. There's also said to be a clause in his deal that'd allow him to move on for just £25 million at the end of this season.

Spurs appear poised to have Alderweireld for another season at least, though, and that must be considered a positive for Mauricio Pochettino's side as they look to compete in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

After all, few teams in the top flight can match the defensive resources Tottenham have, with Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez also in contention to start for the club. 

Alderweireld has started the season well for Spurs, too, putting in a particularly impressive performance in the 3-0 win for Tottenham against United. Journalist Liam Canning thinks the Red Devils should've pushed harder to get him in:

While injuries have been an issue for Alderweireld, when he's on the field he tends to thrive.

His defensive instincts are second-to-none in the Premier League. The former Atletico Madrid and Ajax man is excellent at stopping opposition attacks, as he reads the game expertly and times tackles to perfection. Additionally, he's never one to shirk a physical battle.

Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws commented on how effective the defender can be when has the ball at his feet:

If Alderweireld is going to stay at Spurs for the long term, a new contract will need to be sorted soon, as a number of clubs will surely be ready to meet that release clause.

It's early days in this campaign, but if the defender can stay fit and continue to perform at a high standard, he'll be close to cementing his status as a key man at Tottenham once again.

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