Toby Alderweireld on his way to Manchester United – reports

Manchester United are reportedly close to signing Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld which could be worth £60 million. Simon Mullock of The Mirror has reported that the deal could be just days away with United linked to the Belgian defender for more than a few months. At the end of the season, it was expected that Alderweireld would be the main target for United this summer and a move was suggested ahead of the FIFA World Cup, of which Belgium came third, beating England 2-0 in the third-place play-off.

However, remembering that it was Daniel Levy that United were dealing with, it was unlikely to be a quick deal between the two clubs. United had reportedly offered £55 million for Alderweireld and Spurs seemingly wanted £75 million, which was the highest amount reported in the media this summer, presumably because Virgil van Dijk signed for Liverpool for that figure when he left Southampton. However, it was reported that United were £20 million short of an offer with Spurs likely to dig in their heels, which is what they have done.

Alderweireld is into the final year of his contract but has a clause in his contract which could be activated at any time, as most United players after 2013 also have inserted into their contracts. The Belgian defender has rejected a new deal with Spurs, who will play at their new stadium where White Hart Lane once stood in about a months time, and was reported to have suggested that he wanted to sign for United and was willing to ensure that happened, whether it was this summer, in January or next summer.

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If Spurs activated the one-year option on his contract, there would be a £25 million clause which if activated, would mean the player could leave Spurs. However, reports conflicted as to whether it meant he could leave immediately for that figure, if it was activated in the current transfer window, which would be unlikely, or whether it would be from the next transfer window in January, which was a much more likely scenario. If these reports are true, and I do hope they are, the £60 million fee is just a little bit more than the £55 million reportedly offered earlier in the year.

Last summer, United were after Ivan Perisic and it was suggested that £5 million was the difference in signing the player and missing out on him, which United opting for the latter. The Mirror state that a deal for Alderweireld could be done in the next 48 hours, which is a term used for most transfers and a timescale that does come and go, often with nothing happening in that timeline. United have been linked with Harry Maguire and Yerry Mina in the past few weeks, with reports about the latter close to signing possibly being a smokescreen unless United are interested in him too?

Alderweireld was impressive in the World Cup this summer, which is a good sign after injury and a contract standoff both taking its toll on the Belgian defender last season, which saw Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez as Mauricio Pochettino’s preferred central defensive partnership. United have Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly, both of whom arrived under Mourinho in the last two summer’s, added to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling as the experienced central defenders. United also have Marcos Rojo, but reports suggest he could be on the move this summer also.

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