BREAKING: Man Utd on alert as Alderweireld decision makes £25m move realistic

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has said the club will trigger an extension clause in Toby Alderweireld’s contract – but the move only makes Spurs more vulnerable to losing the Belgian star.

The defender will now be contracted to Spurs until the summer of 2020, having been due to be a free agent at the end of the season.

However, by taking up the year’s option it also activates a £25million release clause which runs from the start of the 2019 summer transfer window to the last two weeks.

The news comes several weeks after Spurs also triggered an option on Alderweireld’s Belgium team-mate and close friend Jan Vertonghen’s contract.

Pochettino said: “Yes, for sure. It is obvious. It is the same situation as Jan (Vertonghen).”

Alderweireld was expected to leave last summer as Spurs looked to cash in on him after he reportedly rejected a new long-term deal.

The 29-year-old barely played at the back end of last season, despite being fit after a hamstring injury, as Pochettino appeared to freeze him out.

He was reportedly on Manchester United’s radar for much of the summer, but no deal happened and he has enjoyed a second coming at Spurs this season.

However, speaking earlier this year, Alderweireld insisted he never had any desire to leave Tottenham this summer.

“I quickly came to understand, together with my advisors, that I would be staying put at Tottenham,” Alderweireld said.

“It is even a personal triumph for me to have got my place back in their team. I worked hard for it. It is not a disappointment for me that I did not get a transfer. I did not want to leave at all costs.

“People said that I wanted to leave the club, but that was not true. Not everything that has been said in the media has been correct. I just try to help Tottenham as I can with the abilities I have.”

While Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez have struggled with injuries this term, Alderweireld has been a mainstay of the side, making 24 appearances.

He has been an important player as Spurs have made themselves Premier League contenders, with the 5-0 win over Bournemouth on Boxing Day taking them above Manchester City into second.

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