A report released by The Times today has further fuelled the furore surrounding Toby Alderweireld’s future at Tottenham Hotspur.
It has become public knowledge that over the last two weeks, Toby Alderweireld and the club have held wage negotiations regarding an increase in the Belgian defender’s pay packet before he signs another contract with the club.
Toby currently earns approximately £50,000 a week but is demanding his wage treble to £150,000 a week – which would be in keeping with the wages of some other Premier League centre-backs. For example, Virgil van Dijk is on around £180,000 a week. The Times has reported that the very latest negotiations have broken down after the club offered Alderweireld £110,000 a week – which he has turned down. Since Alderweireld joined Spurs in 2015, the Belgian international has been an influential player, forming the crux of the Spurs defence alongside his national counterpart Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham Hotspur are ‘willing to sell’
Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly backed the decision of Daniel Levy and the rest of the Spurs board mainly to prevent any distress, or aggravation, in the dressing room. Also, if Spurs were to keep hold of the Belgian for an additional year, they would lose £25m in value by triggering his release clause.
As Alderweireld has proven himself one of the league’s most proficient and expert defenders, there is no doubt that the club would pick up a pretty penny for him. Again to use van Dijk as a barometer, if he can pick up a £75m price tag then Alderweireld would most certainly be able to equally draw, at the minimum, this sort of attention. Manchester United have already been rumoured as favourites if Toby was to become available in the summer.
It is safe to say that the board and the fans do not see eye-to-eye on the situation. In one sense, you have to commend the club for their volition in denying the wage increase. Tottenham Hotspur have a stringent wage structure in place that organises the whole team. This wage structure is one cog in the whole financial wheel that keeps Tottenham Hotspur turning; and with the loans and costs attached to the construction of the new stadium, they are questioning whether it would be of value to disrupt that structure for a player who is approaching 29 years of age.
However, the fans, quite rightly, cannot understand why the club would risk losing one of their star plays for the sake of a £40,000 wage difference. The club have made it explicitly clear that they have ambition. Levy has commissioned this new stadium because of its modern value, its increased fan-capacity and its benchmark of a new epoch for modern football stadia. If the club is looking for titles and awards and to battle the best they simply need to be able to pay the best players the same as the other teams at the top.
Last season saw Kyle Walker leave for more money, and they might lose another unequivocally valuable defender this summer. Could this move have a knock-on effect, possibly leading to other Spurs stars realising that they could increase their wages elsewhere? Or could his potential sale, keep the club on the right financial track and give Poch the funds to develop the squad internally, or by other means?