Manchester United have been looking to acquire a defender towards the 2018-19 season.
The Red Devils are looking for a player who can be either a starter or a competent replacement starter. This is in case they decided to part ways with the likes of Phil Jones or Eric Smalling during the upcoming summer. Jose Mourinho already said Smalling is likely to go, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones leave, either. The Portuguese tactician needs the team must upgrade defensively if they want to contend next season.
Several names have been mentioned as alternatives. However, it seems United already have a target in mind. The Red Devils have been linked with a move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, as the Belgian international could be on the move quite soon. The former Ajax and Atletico Madrid star has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe with Tottenham Hotspur over the past two years, but his future is up in the air at the moment. And making a move to Old Trafford is reportedly on the cards for the talented centre-back,. After all, he is already used to playing in the Premier League. That’s quite a bonus.
What is Alderweireld’s contract situation?
The scenario is the following: Alderweireld wants a substantial raise on his wages to extend his tenure with the Spurs. However, the London side is not willing to give him what he wants. And of course, it doesn’t help that Mauricio Pochettino left him out of his team’s Champions League clash at Juventus. Right now it seems Alderweireld will be a candidate to leave the team this next summer. Otherwise, they might lose him for free.
Real Madrid are also believed to be interested in the Belgian star. However, The Red Devils reportedly have a slight edge on the defender. But either way, they should keep a close eye on what Madrid can do. Loe Merengues could sneak into the negotiations and have enough money to convince him of a move to Spain.
Alderweireld is under a £25 million release clause, which would be highly affordable to the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid. So even though we still have roughly three months before the end of the season, all signs indicate Alderweireld is playing his last few games wearing the Spurs uniform.
Does he represent an upgrade?
In short – yes. Alderweireld offers positional versatility since he can play on several positions, but there is no question he profiles better as a centre-back. But having a CB with his traits and physical qualities make him an intriguing alternative. His presence would allow Mourinho to play with a 3-5-2 system, playing him alongside Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly, for instance.
But even if United maintains their 4-2-3-1 tactic, Alderweireld is a better alternative than Jones and Smalling at the moment. So United should do everything they can to acquire him. He is reportedly available, and talks are ongoing. Will we see him at Old Trafford next season?