Toby Alderweireld has elaborated upon his motives for leaving Tottenham Hotspur in order to join Al-Duhail in Qatar.
Alderweireld enjoyed a positive six-year spell with Spurs after joining them in 2015. The former Southampton man established himself as one of the Premier League’s best defenders during his prime years. However, Tottenham’s defence as a whole struggled last season and Alderweireld has since departed.
Despite plenty of rumours about a move to his native Belgium, Alderweireld instead opted for a lucrative opportunity in the Middle East.
He has no concerns about the move affecting his international chances, though. In fact, he is currently on duty with Belgium. While with the national setup, he has been speaking about his decision to switch Spurs for Al-Duhail.
While not denying the financial benefits of such a move, the centre-back also pointed to family reasons.
“Well, I could hardly refuse this adventure,” he said in quotes carried by Het Laatste Nieuws and translated by Sport Witness. “Also financially, of course, I will not be silly about that.
“I have two children and at Tottenham I saw them very little. That hurt more and more. In Qatar I will see them more and that is very important to me. I want to see my children grow up and that can be done much better at my current club.
“At Tottenham it frustrated me that I had to leave my family behind too often. Sometimes we played three times a week, with a seclusion before each time. That started to wring more and more.”
Although Alderweireld has left behind European football, he has not noticed too significant a drop in quality in his new surroundings.
“The level in Qatar and at Al-Duhail is higher than I expected,” he added. “Of course, it is not the Premier League, but the level is better than expected.”
Tottenham were hoping to sign two defenders to help replace Alderweireld this summer. However, they only managed to bring in one: Cristian Romero from Atalanta.
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In addition, they signed goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini from the same club, full-back Emerson Royal from Barcelona, winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla and midfielder Pape Matar Sarr from Metz, who took him back on loan for the season.
One of those players, though, may not make the instant impact some may expect of him.
An expert with better knowledge of the new arrival has explained why things may take time…