Barcelona have reportedly joined Manchester United in pursuit of Toby Alderweireld, who continues to face an uncertain future at Tottenham.
According to a report by Daily Mirror, Barcelona have entered the race to sign Toby Alderweireld, whose uncertain contract situation at Tottenham has not improved much. The Belgian defender is also a long-term target for Manchester United, who remain in search of a centre-back.
Conventional wisdom suggested that Toby Alderweireld was set to be on his way out of Tottenham in the summer, what with the player refusing to sign a new deal and losing his place as a defensive mainstay. It was widely believed that Manchester United might come up trumps in his pursuit, with the Red Devils his only serious suitors for a long time.
But, a move failed to materialise as Tottenham held onto the experienced defender. At the start of the season, while Alderweireld seems to have regained his status of being a regular, the contract situation has not improved at all, which is piquing the interest of clubs once again. Manchester United have thus, been joined by Barcelona in Alderweireld’s pursuit.
Manchester United’s continued interest in the 29-year-old does not come as a surprise whatsoever, with the Premier League heavyweights looking uncharacteristically poor at the back. In particular, Jose Mourinho wants an experienced head that can guide the youngsters while also aiding their development, which is where Alderweireld comes into the picture. But, Barcelona’s entry complicates matters.
The Blaugrana too, seem to be in urgent need of signing a centre-back, with the absence of Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen due to injuries exposing the lack of depth at the heart of defence. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet remain the only recognised centre-backs for Barcelona, and there are issues with both.
While Pique looks well past his best, Lenglet is showing some teething problems during his early days at Barcelona, who thus, have an urgent need to sign a centre-back. Another Manchester United target, Matthijs de Ligt is an attractive proposition. But, the Catalans know that signing him in the middle of the season will be almost impossible.
Alderweireld is thus, a viable short-term target for Barcelona, with the player’s former experience in La Liga possibly helping him adapt to Camp Nou quicker as well. If pushed, the Spanish champions can tempt Tottenham to part ways with the player, and surpass Manchester United in the process, as Spurs would prefer selling to a foreign club.
Tottenham can also recoup a higher amount in January for Alderweireld as compared to next summer, when a £25 million release clause – provided they extend his contract by 12 months – will put them in a spot of bother. But one can only expect Spurs to sell the Belgian superstar if they can sign a replacement, which is a big stumbling block for Barcelona and Manchester United.
Barcelona will surely fancy their chances of beating Manchester United to the signature of Alderweireld, should they indeed make a move in January. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the coming months, with Alderweireld still likely to leave Tottenham.