Alderweireld - A good choice

Article by Simon Callan

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Toby Alderweireld is looking like a real possibility for Spurs this summer. I feel we should discuss the likelihood of the move and whether or not he would be a good addition to the Tottenham ranks.

First off, we have a numbers issue (ugh - boring). Spurs currently have 6 first team central defenders on their books. These are Vertonghen, Chiriches, Kaboul, Dier, Fazio and new signing Kevin Wimmer. This number is rather excessive and adding Alderweireld to the mix crowds it even more. It seems likely that a couple of these guys will be moving on over the summer. The most likely to leave are Kaboul and Chiriches, with reported interest in their services coming from Turkey and Italy respectively. Assuming they leave, and Alderweireld comes in, that will give Spurs five central defenders to choose from which is about right for a team that anticipates to be playing over 50 matches a season.

A quick look at the stats, as reported on Sky Sports News, comparing Alderweireld to Spurs current stock doesn't make him look like much of a step up.

Tackles win %
Fouls per game

As you can see, his tackle win % is pretty similar to rest but he has made far fewer interceptions than the rest (bear in mind that Vertonghen and Alderweireld are the only ones who played regularly last season). It is important to realise that while stats can paint a picture of a players performances, they aren't the whole story.

He is a ball playing centre-half, very technically gifted, much like Vertonghen. He is comfortable taking the ball out from the back and trusts himself in possession. This suits Tottenham's possession based style of play. He has plenty of top-tier football experience having played for Ajax and Atletico Madrid before tasting the Premier League with Southampton last season. While some may be disappointed that we may be getting a player who was unable to cut it at a top team in Atletico, it is worth noting that he was competing with Diego Godin, Miranda and Jimenez, none of whom are mugs! It is admirable that he wasn't content to sit on the Atletico bench and pick up a pay check every week, unlike some in the current Tottenham ranks. He was hungry to play, hence his move to Southampton. While his primary position is centre-half, he is capable of playing right back and does hold down that position in the Belgian national side.

Alderweireld is keen on remaining in the Premier League and at the moment it seems that Tottenham and Southampton are both keen on his services, with Spurs reported to have agreed a fee in the region of £11m, and Atletico want to convert this interest into a bidding war. Both teams seem confident clinching the transfer. If it comes down to a choice between these two teams I think Tottenham have a significant advantage. Firstly, of the two teams, Tottenham are by far the more likely to be able to offer him Champions League football in the near future. Secondly, Spurs can probably offer a more attractive financial package than Southampton. Thirdly, there is the Belgian factor. There are three Belgian's in the Tottenham squad in the shape of Vertonghen, Dembele and Chadli. Further, there are many more Belgians plying their trade in London at the moment than there are on the south coast. The icing on the cake in favour of the Spurs over Southampton argument is that Alderweireld has partnered Vertonghen in central defence before, playing for Ajax, and has publicly stated that he would like to play with him again. Of course, on the flip side, if he was to sign for Southampton I am sure Liverpool would come in with an overpriced bid for him next summer and he may get top-tier European football anyway.

So, all things considered, what do we think Spurs fans? He may not be a Vincent Kompany or Thiago Silva, but he is an established international quality defender who holds a starting berth in the Belgian national team who are ranked 2nd in the world. He also has Premier League experience, speaks English and has friends in the Tottenham squad that could help him settle very quickly. At a reported £11m he isn't overly expensive. So should he be a primary target this summer? This fan thinks so..

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