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Toby Alderweireld Says He 'Chose Loyalty' by Signing a New Tottenham Contract

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 22, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Toby Alderweireld says being loyal motivated him to sign a new contract with Tottenham Hotspur, a club he didn't want to leave, despite a host of rumours linking the defender with a move. 

Alderweireld put pen to paper on a deal until 2023 on Friday to end speculation he would leave north London on a free transfer in the summer.

Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial

✍️ We are delighted to announce that @AlderweireldTob has signed a new contract with the Club until 2023. #THFC ⚪️ #COYS

The 30-year-old explained his reasons to Dan Kilpatrick of the London Evening Standard: "I know I can get maybe a different deal somewhere else but I chose loyalty, Spurs and football."

Alderweireld also called Jose Mourinho "a factor" in his decision after the Portuguese has made a reasonably successful start since replacing Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout in November. However, Alderweireld emphasised: It was always in my mind to stay. It's easy to talk now like this after I signed a deal but hand on my heart it's true."

For a long time, it appeared as though the Belgium international's career with Spurs was destined to end. He was heavily linked with Manchester United and even admitted considering a return to former club Ajax.

Alderweireld's decision to stay is a huge boost for Spurs. He's one of the more accomplished centre-backs in the Premier League, aggressive in the air, strong on the deck and with the technique to effectively play out from the back:

Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial

💫 @AlderweireldTob: Lord of the pings! 💫 #THFC ⚪️ #COYS https://t.co/qnh8eUZxry

Alderweireld is the kind of experienced and battle-hardened linchpin Mourinho can build a formidable defence around. The Tottenham chief has always been noted for how his teams frustrate opposing attackers.

Even so, Alderweireld accepting fresh terms isn't enough for Mourinho to think other key players at the back will soon follow suit:

Dan Kilpatrick @Dan_KP

On Alderweireld, says he does not think it will lead to a domino effect with Vertonghen & Eriksen and plays down 'Mourinho effect' in deal.

Alderweireld's fellow centre-back and international team-mate Jan Vertonghen is out of contract at the end of the season. The 32-year-old can listen to offers from foreign clubs once the calendar flips from 2019 to 2020.

Mourinho may need to get creative if Vertonghen doesn't prolong his partnership with Alderweireld at the heart of the Spurs' defence. Davinson Sanchez has talent on the ball but can be guilty of erratic decisions when it comes to positioning and discipline, while Juan Foyth, 21, remains raw.

Tottenham do have the luxury of moving midfield destroyer Eric Dier into defence, but Mourinho has so far preferred to use the Englishman to anchor his team in the middle of the park.

Alderweireld's commitment is a coup for a team still facing a fight to finish fourth, trailing the UEFA Champions League places by six points following Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Spurs will need more established veterans along the spine of the team to follow Alderweireld's example in order to maintain status as a Champions League club beyond this season.

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