Major update on Tottenham transfer saga – negotiations begin with league rival

Tottenham Hotspur have opened negotiations over the sale of defender Toby Alderweireld to Premier League rivals Manchester United, according to The Mirror.

The report claims that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy wants a similar fee to the £75 million that Liverpool paid to Southampton for Virgil van Dijk back in January.

However, a clause in the Belgium international’s contract means that there is a possibility that he could depart for just £25 million next summer and as such United may well hope to drive down the asking price.

An instrumental figure at Tottenham under the management of Mauricio Pochettino, Alderweireld initially joined from Atletico Madrid in July 2015 after proving himself in England’s top flight during a loan at Southampton the previous season.

Developing a strong partnership with compatriot Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the Lilywhites’ backline, the former Ajax trainee helped his team to a third-placed finish in the Premier League in 2015-16.

Spurs bettered that with a runners-up spot to champions Chelsea the following term and consolidated their position in the top four this time around by cementing third position again.

However, Alderweireld was on the periphery for much of the campaign thanks largely to a hamstring injury suffered in Tottenham’s Champions League group stage victory over Real Madrid in November.

With Davinson Sanchez proving a more than capable replacement, speculation has mounted that the 29-year-old would be allowed to depart in the transfer window for the right price and it now seems United are poised to snap him up.

The need for defensive reinforcements at Old Trafford was highlighted in the 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at the weekend, in which Phil Jones was at fault for the decisive goal, a penalty converted by Eden Hazard.

Alderweireld would no doubt tighten up manager Jose Mourinho’s defence, but Tottenham may want to be wary about allowing such a talented player to move to a rival.