Five destinations for talented Atleti defender Toby Alderweireld
Atletico Madrid-owned defender Toby Alderweireld has been in terrific form this term for loan club Southampton (6/1 with Coral for a Premier League top four finish), so transfer rumours were bound to be expected.
The 26-year-old Saints centre back had originally been tipped to make his move to St Mary’s permanent, but now it appears he has caught the eye of Europe’s elite.
Speaking recently, the top Premier League performer stated: “I am not going to hide it, it is nice to read this kind of stuff. I feel good in the Premier League, but I have no idea about any concrete interest.
“Atletico can make me return because I still have two more years on my contract, Southampton can buy me, another club can make an offer. It seems, at least, that it is going to be another hectic summer for me.”
With the versatile Belgium international doing little to quell speculation, Coral writers consider his options.
Diego Simeone’s decision to send Ajax academy graduate Alderweireld to St Mary’s to rediscover his form has reaped dividends. In fact, it might have worked a little too well.
The Spanish capital club (9/1 to reach the Champions League final again) hold all the cards as the composed centre back is still under contract, but big spenders like Manchester City are said to be circling, and could tempt their hand.
First choice defenders Diego Godin and Miranda were in Alderweireld’s way before, but at least one of the top quality pair could depart this summer, paving the way for the Belgian to make a triumphant return. However, having failed to fit in before, would it be wise to go back?
The Citizens (6/1 to retain the Premier League) already boast one of Belgium’s top centre backs in skipper Vincent Kompany, but the 28-year-old needs a competent partner to help marshal the Sky Blues’ backline. Young summer signing Eliaquim Mangala has so far failed to acclimatise, while Martin Demichelis is approaching 35.
City could use a commanding defender able to pick up the slack in Kompany’s absence and make an immediate impact. Both parties would benefit should Alderweireld opt for the blue half of Manchester, as the player would be practically guaranteed Champions League football and the club would surely be favourites for the league title again.
Louis van Gaal is famed for his insistence on backline balance so, with Marcos Rojo established as first choice left footed centre back, United will be on the hunt for a right footed Red Devil to partner him.
The Old Trafford outfit have endured some woeful defensive wobbles that have derailed their season, and Van Gaal will need to strengthen the position and David de Gea’s defensive protection if he hopes to keep the Spain stopper.
If Alderweireld’s main concern is first team football, United should be able to offer it in spades, with Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans among the expected departures this summer. A ball playing centre back who is comfortable in possession, Alderweireld would appear a perfect fit for Van Gaal’s philosophy.
Saints are surely favourites to keep hold of their on-loan star, as the south coast club supposedly have the option to purchase the defender for a fee of around £6.8m. However, rumours suggest this clause could be bought out by competitors, so Ronald Koeman must pull out all the stops to keep his main man.
Alderwiereld may feel he has already outgrown St Mary’s, but the brilliant Belgian should remember that the club reinvigorated his career. Would the centre half star still thrive away from Koeman’s carefully constructed system?
Spurs are the latest club said to be considering scuppering Saints’ plans to make Alderweireld’s switch permanent.
Mauricio Pochettino has already angered fans of his former club by making moves for Southampton stars, and now appears interested in Aldeweireld.
The adaptable ex-Ajax player is adept at instigating attacks and bringing the ball forward, making him an attractive prospect for Spurs. However, despite the chance to link up with compatriots Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli, there appears to be few benefits in swapping Southampton’s project for Spurs, with both teams outsiders in the top four race.