By Richard Parks
Liverpool would have already started attempts at prising Toby Alderweireld from Tottenham this summer, according to Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday.
The Sky Sports pundit is convinced that the Merseyside giants will have joined Manchester United and about 10 clubs in total in the race to land the Spurs centre-back.
Reports in recent days have stated that Mauricio Pochettino has given the green light for Tottenham to sell Alderweireld this summer after talks over a new contract reached a deadlock.
The Belgian defender’s current deal expires at the end of next season and it has a £25million release clause that will only become active in the summer of 2019 if Tottenham choose to trigger a one-year extension to his contract.
Merson believes Alderweireld’s departure would have a negative affect on the Tottenham dressing room.
Merson told Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme on 24th February: “The Tottenham players if he lets go, and I think his clause is £25million, which is a cup of tea for someone of his standard, the players will be in the dressing room going ‘where are we going? Where are we going if we are letting one of the best centre-halves in the world go?’
“I bet you his agent has 10 calls already from people like Man United and Liverpool.
“Jose Mourinho would have been ringing his agent up going ‘do not sign, I’ll give you £200,000-a-week’.”
Football Insider verdict:
What a signing Alderweireld would be for Liverpool. Or, indeed, any other team. The Belgian’s contract talks have reached a deadlock over his pay demands and his exit this summer is increasingly inevitable, as it is the last time that Spurs can secure a £50million-plus fee that reflects his market value as one of the planet’s premier centre-backs. Liverpool would have to spend big to get the 28-year-old and would have the best defensive pairing in the league if they did, with record signing Virgil van Dijk already looking the real deal.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed the club are working on deals to sign up FIVE players, with three agreements virtually nailed on.
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By Richard Parks