Toby Alderweireld was arguably the best defender in the Premier League in the 2016/17 season. The Belgian’s been playing the best football of his career over the last two years and had become a mainstay in a progressive and dynamic Spurs side.
However, his campaign has been blighted by injury for the 29-year-old. It’s also featured a dispute with manager Mauricio Pochettino and meant spending much of the campaign on the sidelines.
Spurs qualified for the Champions League yet again but perhaps this is the first summer when their star men could leave. Moussa Dembele, Alderweireld and even Dele Alli could be considering their futures.
Despite Manchester City cruising to the Premier League title, United were noticeably better in Mourinho’s second season in charge.
The Red Devils conceded 28 goals this season, second only to City (again!). This shouldn’t be sniffed at especially with the defence made up of maligned pairing Chris Smalling and Phil Jones as well as Premier League rookie Victor Lindelof.
But it looks as though Mourinho will be looking at a major shake-up in their back four. Luke Shaw, Smalling and even the long-serving Antonio Valencia look the most vulnerable.
Alderweireld may be the first and most important part of this defensive jigsaw and at a reported £40 million it would appear a snare.
The defender only made 12 appearances in his single season at Atletico Madrid. He wasn’t helped by the form of Diego Godin and Miranda during their title winning campaign in 2013-14.
However, since moving on loan to Southampton in 2014, Alderweireld has carved a reputation of being one of Europe’s elite defenders.
Being nurtured by Pochettino alongside compatriot Jan Vertonghen(,) he’s become a leader at Spurs. The centre-back pairing has been crucial to propelling the North Londoners into title contention over the last few years.
However with no sign of penning a new deal it’s looking increasingly likely Alderweireld will be leaving. There will be a flock of clubs ready to pounce for the Belgian’s service when the transfer window opens.
But the chance of working with Mourinho could be an alluring one.
And the United manager will hope he’s too big of a draw to turn down.