By Wayne Veysey

6th Dec, 2016 | 9:49am

Tottenham open defender talks ahead of January window - reliable journalist

By Harry Sykes

Tottenham have opened talks with Toby Alderweireld about a new contract ahead of the January transfer window, according to a reliable journalist.

Mirror correspondent Darren Lewis has claimed that Spurs are in negotiations with the Belgium centre-back about a deal to replace the one he signed when joining from Atletico Madrid 18 months.

Lewis, who is a reliable source of Tottenham information, reported on his personal Twitter account that discussions are underway between the two parties over a “long-term contract”.

This comes after the revelation from the Football Leaks group that Alderweireld has a £25.4million release clause in his current Spurs contract.

The release fee, claimed by the whistleblowers and published in Belgian newspaper Le Soir on Tuesday, means the outstanding centre-back could be snapped up from Tottenham for a relatively bargain price in the January window.

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Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City are all in the market for a commanding defender after problems in that position in the first half of the campaign.

Lewis claims that Alderweireld’s talks with Spurs are “unrelated to any clauses”, but the timing is intriguing given that the player has three-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal and is seemingly already tied down by the club.

The Belgium international’s influence at White Hart Lane is without question, and has been further highlighted during his absence with a knee injury over the last six weeks.

Spurs have won just two out of 11 matches with their defensive titan, who has formed one of the best centre-back partnerships in Europe with countryman Jan Vertonghen over the last 18 months.

Football Insider verdict:

To say that Alderweireld is significant to the Tottenham cause is like saying Harry Kane is a decent striker. It is clear and incontrovertible. If the release fee in the Belgian’s Spurs contract is true – and Football Leaks have a brilliant track record in that respect – then club chiefs must act quickly to thrash out a new deal that either removes a release fee altogether and makes it such a high figure that interested clubs will go sniffing elsewhere for a new centre-back next month.

In other Tottenham news, an £11million Celtic sensation has revealed he had a trial at Tottenham but was rejected due to his size.