Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says chairman Daniel Levy has a special plan in place for Kyle Walker-Peters, but is also not against seeing the on-loan defender leave.
Spurs sent Walker-Peters to Southampton in January and he has played five of eight Premier League games since.
The 23-year-old particularly impressed in Sunday’s 1-0 win over deposed champions Manchester City. After Che Adams’ opener, the Saints defence stood strong amid a barrage of City pressure.
The right-back’s future past this season is uncertain, however, with Serge Aurier and Japhet Tanganga fighting for game time.
Mourinho says he has watched Walker-Peters’ progress with intent ahead of his return to north London.
“Of course I follow,” the manager told a press conference on Wednesday. “We don’t have as many players on loan so it’s not a very difficult job to follow what we have and being [the] Premier League, we follow.
“We see a future here, yes. But we always see a future outside where he can be happy. The reason why he went to Southampton was not because we pushed him to go.
“You can see in our squad at this moment with [Japhet] Tanganga injured, we only have Serge Aurier, so we didn’t push him. He’s a kid everyone loves here.
“Daniel Levy himself has special care for the player and he’s here for years and years and years. So we let him go because we think he has the right to be happy.”
MOURINHO REVEALS DOUBTS
However, Mourinho then admitted that Spurs would not be against allowing Walker-Peters to find a new club.
“He’s happy now I think,” Mourinho added. “Playing and playing well. I’m not in control of the transfer decisions but the general feeling is there’s a place for him here.
“But if his desire is to be playing every time and leaving the club in search of happiness I don’t think we’d stop him. He’s a player with a good value in the market but I don’t think we’d stop him doing it.”
Walker-Peters made his Premier League debut for Spurs at the start of the 2017/18 season.
He has previously admitted uncertainty about his future ahead of the end of his Southampton loan.