Philippe Coutinho has reportedly told Barcelona that they must sign Tottenham centre-back Toby Alderweireld this summer.
The Belgium star’s current contract runs out in the summer of 2019, although Spurs do have the option of extending the deal by an extra year.
The problem is that if they do decide to go down that route then that will activate a release clause of £25million for a player who is worth probably three times that much in today’s market.
Latest reports are suggesting that Spurs are still unwilling to match Alderweireld’s £150,000-a-week wage demands, with their highest paid player Harry Kane on £110,000-a-week.
That has alerted several of Europe’s big guns and Spanish publication Diario Gol claims Coutinho wants Barca to pounce on the uncertainty surrounding Alderweireld’s future as the Catalan giants look to improve their defence.
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Barca had been looking to sign Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez in the summer but did bring in Yerry Mina from Palmeiras to replace the departing Javier Mascherano in January. Mina, though, has played just two games for Ernesto Valverde’s men so far.
Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique are Barca’s first-choice central-defensive pairing but there are doubts over the former’s future, with Manchester United strongly linked with a move for the France star.
Alderweireld, meanwhile, is also said to be a major target for Barca’s main La Liga rivals Real Madrid – who are looking to bring the player back to the Spanish capital after his earlier spell at Atletico.
The 29-year-old is currently back on the sidelines having only recently returned to action after three months out with a hamstring injury.