Tottenham won’t panic over Toby Alderweireld’s demands

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Pedro of Chelsea and Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur FC during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Pedro of Chelsea and Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur FC during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /
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Expect Tottenham to play it cool

Toby Alderweireld is a crucial element of Tottenham’s stingy defense. His contract demands won’t send Spurs into a panic though. The club have been preparing for Alderweireld’s potential departure for months.

Relax Spurs fans, that doesn’t mean the club aren’t going to offer him a generous new contract. On the contrary, I expect Daniel Levy and company to offer the talented centre back a new deal sometime in the next several weeks. With the summer transfer window shut, it gives higher-ups at the club time to focus on locking Alderweireld down for the long haul.

After all, he’s arguably the club’s top defender. His ability to snuff out opposing attacks while also igniting the Tottenham attack with his excellent passing skills provides the club with a deadly combination. Replacing his skill set would be extremely difficult. It might also prove to be fiscally impossible.

Credit Alderweireld’s representatives for understanding that reality. That’s precisely why they’ve come out and put pressure on the club publicly. His agent, Stijn Francis correctly pointed out that Tottenham’s performance dips when Alderweireld is out of the lineup. As such, it’s perfectly reasonable for him to expect a new and improved contract.

As usual, this will come down to a simple question of economics. While Alderweireld has been clear he wants a new deal, neither he or his representatives have clued the public in on just how big a raise he will require. Presumably, they have communicated that figure to Daniel Levy at this point.

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If Alderweireld is content to see his wages rise to the same level as Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane then expect Tottenham to tie him down to a new deal. Centre backs don’t generally earn as much as a club’s attacking players, but as I mentioned previously, Alderweireld’s passing ability is crucial to Spurs’ ability to play out of the back successfully. Kane is more valuable to Tottenham than Alderweireld, but the Belgian defender is every bit as valuable to Spurs as their French keeper.

If, on the other hand, Alderweireld expects to earn equal wages as the top earners at Chelsea or Manchester City then a transfer will be inevitable. Tottenham cannot afford to shatter their wage structure for a centre back in his 30s. Say what you will about Alderweireld’s importance to the club, but that simply isn’t going to be possible from ownership’s perspective.

Spurs have already shown their willingness to safeguard themselves against being forced to sell Alderweireld. Davinson Sanchez became the club’s most expensive purchase this summer and Spurs have high hopes for Juan Foyth as well. They’d prefer to keep Alderweireld to mentor their young defenders, but that may be a luxury they cannot afford.

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Tottenham fans are desperate to see Toby Alderweireld tied down with a new contract, but don’t expect the higher-ups at Spurs to capitulate to his every demand. They know the Belgian’s worth and exactly how much they can afford to pay him. If he’s content to be at the top end of the Tottenham wage structure, then he will see out his prime in North London. If he’s determined to maximize his earnings, he’ll be sold for a tidy profit this summer. Either way, Spurs won’t panic into making a financial mistake.