BBC pundit: I fear this Tottenham player could quit, he would be the hardest to replace
By Amir Mir
BBC pundit Garth Crooks believes it is “plausible” for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld to leave for a club like Barcelona in the summer.
Former Spurs striker Crooks stated that he was left amazed when he found out during an interview with the club’s key centre-back that he had not signed a new contract.
The 29-year-old’s current deal at White Hart Lane runs until 2020 as he is one of a few first team players who did not sign a contract extension this season.
Crooks, who interviewed him before the club’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Chelsea in April, believes Barcelona’s constant look-out for a top-class defender could see him move to the Nou Camp.
TV pundit Crooks was full of praise for Alderweireld as he revealed what he likes about the Belgian and why he fears for his future.
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“I have been fascinated by the performances of Toby Alderweireld,” Crooks told the BBC Sport website. “He has performed brilliantly all season but remains slightly anonymous among the stars at White Hart Lane.
“Yet I sense if Alderweireld were to leave Tottenham then he would, in my opinion, be the most difficult player to replace.
“I say this because it was in my FA Cup interview for Football Focus, before the semi-final with Chelsea, that I raised the issue about his contract with the Belgium defender. To my amazement he had not signed it at the time and, with Barcelona always on the look-out for top-class defenders, suddenly visions of him defecting to the Spanish giants became plausible.
“However, it gets worse. At odds of 18-1, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino sounds like a great bet to join Lionel Messi and the Catalans and, if that were to happen, Alderweireld would almost certainly follow the Argentine out of the Lane to the Nou Camp.”
Crooks, who is regularly seen on BBC Final Score, named Alderweireld in his Team of the Season alongside Chelsea duo David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Alderweireld has had another successful season with Mauricio Pochettino’s side, helping them secure the runners-up spot in the Premier League table.
Over the course of the season, the Belgian has played 39 matches for his side, including featuring in three Champions League games.
During his injury-hit campaign, which saw him miss nearly two months of action because of a knee problem, he played 30 league matches for the club.
As a result, this helped Spurs record the best defensive record in the top tier, conceding only 26 goals in 38 matches.
In other Tottenham news, Paul Merson has revealed why Harry Kane doesn’t get enough credit.