Toby Alderweireld’s Tottenham Hotspur future remains up in the air at present, with the Belgian struggling for consistent minutes and his contract about to run into its final year.
Spurs have the option to extend his current deal by a further 12 months, but in doing so would trigger a clause that would allow him to depart for as little as £25 million.
With that in mind, a decision has to be made this summer on whether to go all out and offer him bumper new terms, or sell him for as much money as possible.
And although question marks hang over the 29-year-old’s fitness issues, Tottenham should be looking to tie down their best and brightest if they are serious about challenging for major honours.
Alderweireld’s partnership with Jan Vertonghen has been the bedrock of the Lilywhites’ recent progression and with centre-backs traditionally enjoying a longer shelf life than players in other roles, there is no reason to think that this cannot be the case for at least three more seasons.
Whilst Davinson Sanchez has shown great promise in his first year in England, the Colombian is still only 21 and his form over recent weeks has been slightly patchy, a natural symptom of his relatively tender years.
There have also been encouraging signs from Argentine youngster Juan Foyth, who has been used largely in the cup competitions but is perhaps not quite ready for regular Premier League exposure.
Both of these players should be nurtured for first-team duties and there is no better way to do that than by having a seasoned professional such as Alderweireld around to help guide them.
There is also the question of the former Atletico Madrid man’s value.
£25 million would be a snip in today’s market for a player of Alderweireld’s stature, and thus, even if the intention is to sell him next summer, a new deal must be negotiated.
Teams would doubtless be willing to pay £40 million for his services and a good 2018-19 campaign could see that figure rise.
However, a parting of the ways should not be on the agenda; if Tottenham want to be taken seriously as title challengers, they cannot be seen to be strengthening rivals and any European outfit who signed Alderweireld would be in a better position for it.
Spurs are now regulars in the Champions League, are moving into a state-of-the-art new stadium and the best statement they can make right now is to keep hold of their finest players.
Alderweireld certainly comes into that bracket and as such, the club should do everything to ensure that his long-term future is in North London.