SN Blog 64 – What happens now?

As I write this, Friday 26th July 2019 Toby Alderweireld is still a Tottenham player.  His £25m release clause expired at midnight last night, which to many would feel like a cause for celebration however I am not so sure that it is when it comes to this situation and so I am going to use this blog here to try and explain my thoughts / concerns as it relates to Toby.

With every blog we write here on Spurs News website feel free to comment here on the website with your thoughts or on the post on our Facebook page.

So let’s begin with a brief refresher on the history of the Toby contract saga.

We signed Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid in 2015 following a successful loan season in the Premier League with Southampton.  The Saints at the time believed they had a cast iron clause to sign the defender but when Tottenham showed an interest the players manager (his father) and his agent did a deal with Spurs and Atletico for the transfer.

Southampton reported it at the time but nothing came of it.  However what was interesting was that in the haste to nail down the deal for Toby Spurs agreed to a clause that they would never normally agree too; a release clause.

Daniel Levy is well known for not putting them in contracts so why would he agree to this one?

The reality is the clause would only ever be triggered should the club decide to extend the existing deal of the players by a year, an option that is often built into contacts now.  Daniel also knew he was competing with Southampton, who would agree to this for sure to secure the player.

At no time when doing this deal with the player and his team could Daniel have foreseen that a new contract would not have been signed before that clause ever came in and when Toby’s on field performances were at such a high level the club did engage in talks over that much improved new deal.

Talks happened and a contract was agreed.  THAT is the key thing to note here.  A contract was agreed by all parties in December 2017 with promotional pictures scheduled along with the actual signature, pen on paper to be done.  The player shook hands with the manager, he was delighted to be staying longer term and Daniel Levy shook hands with the agent and the manager (Toby’s Dad) but the very next day something happened which changed everything.

Liverpool completed the signing of Virgi van Dijk for a massive fee and a weekly wage reported at £170,000 a week.  Just as Toby was due to sign his father and manager physically removed him from the room and they left, not a word and then sent through a demand to be put on the same money as VVD.

Now when figures are reported on wages in the press I have learned (through actually seeing some contracts with my own eyes) that they are often so wrong it is comical so I do not want to add to that here.  So I am going to write some figures now as an example, I am not saying they are spot on but I do know they are close enough to be representative.

Toby was in December 2017 earning circa £40,000 per week and his new contract was for £130,000 per week.  This is over three times his basic and was negotiated over a few months.  It was agreed by all parties, bonuses built in also etc which could have left him earning more like £150,000 a week of targets were met.  This is common at Spurs, why basic wage figures quotes on our players is often misleading and not reflective of what the player is actually earning at White Hart Lane.

Toby’s father however insisted his son was a far better defender than VVD, therefore needed a basic weekly wage in excess of £170,000.  Talks broke down, with the club standing by the deal on the table – take it or leave it – they left it.

The player continued to perform well on the pitch but behind the scenes he “checked out” according to many as his father looked to find him a new club who would pay him that VVD level of wages.  As soon as Daniel Levy and the club learned of this Toby’s contract offer was withdrawn and his father was banned from attending home games and was no longer allowed at Hotspur Way.

The relationship with the player and his team had gone completely.  Toby was notably no longer being pushed out to do press, no longer doing interviews and the manager stopped picking him as it was well known he was looking to leave.  Even in key games where he would have been much needed, the manager stood firm on his belief that if you are not 100% committed you do not get to play!  Something else worth noting….

What happened that summer is Toby did not get the move he thought he was going too.  Clubs did circle but none were willing to pay him, at his age and with his injury record the VVD money that his father / manager claimed he was due and worth.  No one in the Premier and no one in Europe.  Spurs even offered him to several clubs in Germany, Spain and Italy – no takers due to the wage demands.

The best offer he had on the table was from Manchester United and that was for less than the contract he was offered by Daniel Levy and Tottenham.  He was ‘stuck’ at Spurs.

The manager sat down in front of the press, having made no signings and with players who clearly wanted out – Toby included in that – still with the squad and said; “There is a clean slate, what has happened is gone, if you show up now I will pick you” and that is what Toby did.  He trained hard, reintegrated with the group and had an excellent 2018/19 season with Spurs helping us make the Champions League final.

During the 2018/19 season however it was announced that Tottenham had exercised that option in his contract to extend his deal by another 12 months, therefore activating the release clause.  When doing that Daniel Levy for sure would have been expecting only one outcome, that being the Belgian leaving in the summer of 2019.

The club have scouted new central defenders a lot, looking at options also in the academy – the club spent big in the past on Sanchez who they have groomed as a replacement for the Belgian.

However here we are.  26th July 2019, with just under two weeks left of the transfer window and Toby is still with us.  Once again clubs have not moved for the player like his people thought they would with only Roma making a bid during the window so far, a bad of circa £17m which the club rejected out of hand – insisting the release clause of £25m would need to be met.

So what happens now?  As I said right at the start, many fans are delighted Toby’s clause has expired but we are now left in a very awkward situation.  The club do not want anyone leaving for free, which Toby can next summer, when they can get something for him BUT it is now late in the window; clubs will offer less and our ability to secure a suitable replacement has diminished.

Also the manager, who has made it clear and stuck to his guns on this a LOT over the past five years will not pick a player who is not committed.  Although Toby showed that last season and I am sure is showing it now in pre-season that he is … right now… in January 2020 he is free to agree a deal with clubs abroad.  Meaning he could announce his departure then.  Something many European clubs will be watching for and happy to do.

Does the manager play him until January then drop him…. does the manager treat him as a reserve from the first game… its opens up problems on every level.

I know some people reading this will likely say; “maybe he will sign a new deal” … it would take a massive shift in positions from both sides.  To the best of my knowledge from all I have read if Spurs offered he would reject and Spurs, in Daniel Levy, have ZERO interest in offering him a deal again after what happened last time.




Share the Post:

Related Posts