Chelsea have reportedly set their sights on Toby Alderweireld, who is also a summer transfer target for Manchester United and Barcelona.
According to a report by Daily Mirror, Chelsea have joined the rapidly growing list of suitors for Toby Alderweireld, who looks primed for a move away from Tottenham in the summer transfer window. Premier League rivals Manchester United and Barcelona are also interested in the Belgian defender.
Alderweireld has been a key figure in Tottenham’s resurgence under Mauricio Pochettino, wherein they have established themselves as genuine Premier League title contenders for the most part while also rising in stature in the UEFA Champions League.
But, the 2017-18 season has been one of struggle for Alderweireld, with a long-term hamstring injury, coupled with the advent of Davinson Sanchez restricting his game time. The player has managed just 17 appearances across all competitions, and a lack of minutes coupled with a contract standoff has put his Tottenham future under a cloud.
Alderweireld’s uncertain position has put the spotlight on him, making him a highly sought-after figure in the transfer market. Manchester United have been monitoring his situation for a long time, and are now facing competition from Barcelona, Chelsea and others in the player’s pursuit.
At Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has been unhappy over his side’s defensive output in recent weeks. As per widespread reports, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are on the chopping block, and with Victor Lindelof taking time to settle at Old Trafford, Alderweireld could be the ideal short-term solution at the back.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have Samuel Umtiti facing an uncertain future at Camp Nou, with Manchester United coincidentally a club linked with him. With Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen on the wrong side of 30, the Blaugrana could do with a centre-back regardless of Umtiti’s future.
Chelsea are the latest side emerging in the race to sign the player. Antonio Conte, like his Manchester United counterpart, has a number of centre-backs at his disposal, with Ethan Ampadu identified as one for the future. But, with age catching up to captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz, and no clarity over Kurt Zouma’s future, Alderweireld could become a short-term solution.
With the player not featuring in any of Tottenham’s last six games despite being fit, there’s a feeling that he might be on his way out of the club, especially with the North Londoners refusing to give in to his demands of a major hike in wages, handing Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea the required impetus to pursue a move.
What further enhances their chances of signing Alderweireld is the presence of a £25 million release clause in his Spurs contract. The clause comes into effect in the summer of 2019, and Tottenham could sell him in the next transfer window to recoup a higher amount, be it from Manchester United, Chelsea or Barcelona.
But, Barcelona might have an advantage in that regard, with Daniel Levy unlikely to be willing to sell the player to direct rivals. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if either Manchester United or Chelsea can manage to swoop Alderweireld away in the summer instead.