Man City to scupper Southampton’s plans for Toby Alderweireld?
Manchester City, outsiders at 20/1 with Coral to lift the Champions League, could look to bolster their backline with Southampton’s on loan centre half Toby Alderweireld.
The Atletico Madrid-owned defender has impressed at St Mary’s this season and has been key to the Saints’ superior rearguard record, as Ronald Koeman’s side have conceded just 17 Premier League goals to City’s 25.
Southampton have supposedly agreed an option with Atleti to make Alderweireld’s switch to the south coast club permanent, for a rumoured fee of £6.8m, but City are now reportedly ready to scupper their plans.
The Citizens were said to be keen on capturing Belgium international Alderweireld before his move to the Vicente Calderon, and could now make an audacious return for the 25-year-old.
Should current La Liga holders Atletico decide to auction the ex-Ajax star, who struggled to settle with Diego Simeone’s side after moving to Spain, it is believed they could buy out Southampton’s clause for around £1.5m.
The Sky Blues’ apparent interest could certainly throw a cat amongst the pigeons then, as Manuel Pellegrini seeks to buy a solid partner for skipper and star centre half Vincent Kompany.
Argentina defender Martin Demichelis will be approaching his 35th birthday by the time next season starts, and new recruit Eliaquim Mangala is still very much getting to grips with the demands of Premier League football.
This certainly leaves the door open for a big summer buy, and few players have been as consistent as Kompany’s compatriot Alderweireld, who has made 22 outings for the Saints this season.
Aside from his experience of playing alongside the Sky Blues captain, Alderweireld is also adaptable and can be deployed as a right back, or even in midfield, making him an ideal fit for the Etihad outfit.
It is unlikely the Ajax academy graduate will return to Atleti, where he faces competition from Miranda and Diego Godin for a starting spot.
Cool and composed in possession and adept at springing attacks from the back, highly-rated Alderweireld could find himself on a host of elite club’s wishlists this summer, but should he stay put in Southampton?
The St Mary’s club have nurtured Alderweireld back to his best and can provide a guarantee of first team football. Former Southampton centre half Dejan Lovren has proven since his switch to Liverpool that a player’s form can depend as much on a side’s system and playing style as individual talent.
Should the Saints’achieve their goal of Champions League football, which they are an excellent 2/1 chance to do, there would be few clubs better placed to help the Belgium international continue his development.