Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld is unconcerned by the hold up in talks over a new contract despite Premier League champions Chelsea and Manchester City closely monitoring the situation. The Belgium international has two years to run on his current deal – Spurs have the option to extend it by an extra 12 months – and admitted in the summer there had been no progress regarding talks.
Though the north London club can extend Alderweireld's contract by a year the club are growing increasingly anxious due to the player's miserly £25m release clause which only becomes active in 2019. Mauricio Pochettino is calm over the situation by the former Southampton and Atletico Madrid centre-back remains one of the few first team players yet to have committed their future to the club.
Alderweireld's agent attempted to inflame negotiations last month by stating "seven or eight" sides from Europe were interested in his client, and that Tottenham should cave to his demands. The 28-year-old currently earns just £50,000-a-week despite being regarded as one of the Premier League's best defenders, due to Spurs' tight finances. And it is a situation which has alerted both Chelsea and City, who are both interested in a cut-price move.
But he told Talksport after Tottenham's Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund, their first win at Wembley this season: "I am trying to focus on the pitch, trying to help the team, give my quality on the field – that's important and the rest will come. I have my father and my agent who are sorting out that kind of thing. Me, I am here to play football, to win things with Spurs and to give my best for the team. I did that from day one and I will do it now as well."
The delay is the latest concerning tale regarding Tottenham's wage structure, which has already seen Kyle Walker leave for Manchester City and Danny Rose speak openly about wanting to leave for pastures new. The senior squad are said to be concerned about earning significantly less than their counterparts at rival clubs and it could lead to a first team revolt if chairman Daniel Levy is unable to implement a contingency plan.
The contract stand-off and looming release clause could see Alderweireld depart Tottenham for significantly lower than the market value for a defender of his quality and experience. Chelsea's David Luiz and City's John Stones are currently the two most expensive centre-backs in world football having moved for £50m and £47.5m respectively, and any deal to sign Alderweireld would be completed for a lower fee.
Chelsea's need for a new defender is not quite as great as City, who failed to improve the heart of their back-line last summer. Pep Guardiola's side were linked with Virgil van Dijk but ended up acquiring three full-backs in the form of Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy.