Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are set to quit Tottenham in January rather than leave for free at the end of the season.
That is the verdict of ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the struggling Belgian duo.
Alderweireld and Vertonghen remain regular starters at Spurs despite a clear decline in their performances this season.
Both central defenders are out of contract next summer, and they can agree pre-contracts with overseas clubs from January.
“The two of them are leaving in January, you hear that,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Right now, Tottenham have two centre-backs who want to be off.
“That’s the spine of the team. When the spine of your team is unhappy and looking elsewhere, you have big problems and that’s what is happening.
“Mauricio Pochettino is sticking by them, presumably because of their experience. He feels the replacements aren’t as good and that’s quite logical when you see Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth play.”
Vertonghen, the 118-times Belgium international, will be 33 at the end of the season, by which time he will have been at Tottenham for eight years.
Alderweireld, who has been capped 96 times by Belgium, turns 31 in March and is in his sixth season at Spurs.
They have been integral members of the Tottenham side transformed into Champions League mainstays and top-four regulars during Pochettino’s reign.