It is a great time to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan – the club are improving year-on-year under Mauricio Pochettino, are now perennial Champions League competitors and possess a sublimely talented playing squad.
However, success breeds jealousy and it is only natural that other clubs will be eyeing Spurs’ success in an attempt to pry away star players.
Pochettino has formed a togetherness in the Tottenham playing squad that has factored into the success, but this only works if everyone is committed to the cause.
While it is reassuring for Spurs supporters to hear the majority of their main players speak glowingly about the club and their manager, one key man’s future is seemingly under threat.
Toby Alderweireld’s contract continues to run down and reports in the press suggest that an impasse between the player and the club means an extension is unlikely.
The Belgium international has proven himself as one of the best centre-halves in the English game over recent seasons and he has been a key reason why Tottenham have had one of the most miserly defences in the division in the process.
However, with Alderweireld no closer to agreeing the terms of a new contract, Spurs may well look to cash-in on the star this summer.
The 28-year-old has had his injury complaints this season, with a hamstring strain picked up back in November keeping him on the sidelines for most of the time since.
But, with Alderweireld playing 90 minutes for Belgium in the recent international break and not suffering any adverse effects, the Tottenham star was expected to return to the mix for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Chelsea.
The fact that the experienced defender did not even make the bench for Spurs’ victory at Stamford Bridge will worry the supporters and could well be the signal that the Belgian could leave this summer.
Pochettino adopted a similar phasing-out process with Kyle Walker at the end of last season when it became clear that the England international was not fully invested in the Tottenham project.
While losing someone of Alderweireld’s calibre will be a concern for the Spurs fans, there is one key reason why the potential blow will be significantly softened.
Davinson Sanchez’s performance against Chelsea was another impressive outing for the Colombian, who has become a mainstay in the Tottenham team while the Alderweireld saga has rumbled on.
Signed for a club-record fee from Ajax last summer, the South American was expected to be a player that would learn from his more-experienced team-mates and look to adapt to life in England.
However, Sanchez has been an almost ever-present for Spurs this season and his partnership with Jan Vertonghen in the Tottenham defence continues to blossom.
The Colombian’s pace and power have allowed Tottenham to play a higher line, while his comfort on the ball has fed into Pochettino’s demands of playing out from the back.
With Alderweireld on the sidelines, Tottenham have reverted to a back four with substantial success over the last few months, with Sanchez a key bog in the defensive wheel.
The potential sight of Alderweireld leaving this summer will be galling for most Spurs fans and Daniel Levy must ensure that the club gets as high a fee as possible if this is the tact the North London outfit take.
However, looking into the future, Sanchez has all the qualities for Tottenham to build a title-challenging team around and his presence will soften the blow should the Belgian be sold.
Written by Gareth McKnight
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