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Tottenham tracking Man City target Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is preparing to raid former club Southampton for loan star defender Toby Alderweireld, according to the British press.

Both teams are now outsiders in Coral’s top four finish market, with Saints 11/2 chances and Spurs longer at 13/2.

Owned by Atletico Madrid, Belgium international Alderweireld, 26, was part of the World Cup squad that reached the quarter-finals under Marc Wilmots in Brazil last summer.

Pochettino is already coaching a number of Alderweireld’s compatriots at White Hart Lane, in fellow defender Jan Vertonghen, midfielder Mousa Dembele and wideman Nacer Chadli.

It is understood that Tottenham have turned their attention to Alderweireld after New Zealand centre half Winston Reid committed his long-term future to London rivals West Ham United by signing a new six-and-a-half-year contract.

Part of a Southampton backline that has kept more Premier League clean sheets than any other side this term so far with 13, Alderweireld has impressed, but also attracted interest from reigning champions Manchester City.

Etihad boss Manuel Pellegrini has become concerned by the poor form of club captain Vincent Kompany, recently dropping him to the bench and favouring Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis at centre back.

City could move to replace Kompany with his fellow Belgian defensive partner Alderweireld, and are the most likely of three permanent Premier League destinations to provide Champions League football for him next term.

Since returning to England’s top-flight in 2012, Saints have lost several key players, with many moving to the northwest. Left back Luke Shaw switched from St Mary’s to Manchester United last summer, while trio Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana all left for Liverpool.

Ronald Koeman, who succeeded Pochettino as Southampton boss, has been allowed to recruit, however, and made both astute permanent signings and clever loan captures like Alderweireld to keep the south coast club in the hunt for Europe.

Spurs and Saints both remain odds-on for top six finishes at 8/13 and 4/7 respectively.