Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has confirmed he will be returning to his native Belgium within the next two years.
Alderweireld has been a key component of Tottenham’s backline since joining the club from Atletico Madrid in 2015. He has made 236 appearances for the club, during which time he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest centre-backs.
It looks as though his time in north London is coming to an end, however. Reports have indicated that he has asked the club to leave this summer.
Now the 32-year-old has revealed that regardless of where he will play the next two seasons of his career, he wants to return to his home country in 2023.
Speaking to Sport/Voetbalmagazine, he said: “I’ve always said—whether that’s [building house in Kapellen] smart or stupid, I don’t know—that I’ll return for my children.
“Then my daughter will be five [in 2023]. I would like her to start first grade. That’s where you start to get boyfriends and girlfriends, the regulars. I think it is important that we give her and her brother a normal childhood in Belgium.
“They may be called son or daughter of at first, but that dust will settle. And then we will live as normal as possible. Also, in education. I want them to be happy. To be a real child. Without worries.”
Alderweireld will currently be on holiday following Belgium’s defeat to Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020. He will soon return to Tottenham for pre-season, which is when he wants to resolve his club future.
Spurs will understandably want to find a suitor for him whilst they can still command a fee for his departure.
His contract runs for another two years, so if they fail to sell this summer, they will see his value drop significantly.
Possible destinations in the Belgian’s homeland include Club Brugge and Royal Antwerp. Brugge are reportedly interested in a big swoop, whilst Antwerp is his hometown where the aforementioned house is being built.
A return to Ajax has also been rumoured, although any move to a country over than Belgium would be of course be restricted to a two-year deal.
Alderweireld replacement could see past repeat itself
Tottenham could have a ready made replacement for Alderweireld lined up from one of his former clubs.
According to reports, they have stepped up their pursuit of Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard by opening talks with the south-coast outfit.
Alderweireld spent the 2014/15 season on loan at St Mary’s Stadium and caught the eye of Tottenham’s bosses with an impressive campaign.
Verstergaard has also done the same in recent times. His assured performances in the Saints’ defence last season have drawn attention from those towards the top of the Premier League, including Spurs.
Indeed, The Times have reported they have made their intentions clear to Southampton and commenced talks after communicating their interest.