Veteran center back Toby Alderweireld has left Tottenham in an $18 million switch to Qatari side Al-Duhail SC that will help managing director of football Fabio Paratici fund new additions to the Spurs backline.
Alderweireld has brought his six year stint in north London to an end as Tottenham look to reshape the defense of new manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Their primary target is Serie A defender of the year Cristian Romero but the center back is expected to set them back $55 million with talks ongoing between Spurs and Atalanta.
Paratici knows Romero well from his time at Juventus, where he signed the 23 year old before he was loaned to Atalanta. Talks have also taken place between Tottenham and Bologna for Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu, who could offer Nuno a versatile option to fill in in central defense or at right back.
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With new blood being injected into the Spurs side veterans of the Mauricio Pochettino era are making way. Alderweireld, who has signed a three year contract with Al-Duhail, was a mainstay of the Tottenham defense since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015, making 236 appearances for the club, but at 32 the defender began to show his age in a disappointing 2020-21 campaign on a personal and team level.
That will not sour the memories of Spurs supporters who will look back fondly on a center back who at the peak of his powers was among the best in the Premier League. Paired with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen, Alderweireld formed a defensive axis that took Tottenham to a Champions League final and second in the 2016-17 Premier League, though he will leave the club without a winners' medal to his name.
In a farewell letter to Tottenham fans, the Belgian international said: "Six years, two homes, a Champions League final and so many memories. You made me feel a part of your club the moment I walked out at White Hart Lane and roared us on, no matter what, into our new, special, stadium.
"Thank you first to the fans and then to my teammates and every incredible member of the Spurs' staff, backroom and beyond. This club will always be in mine and my family's heart."
Alderweireld follows Erik Lamela out of the exit door, the Argentine having joined Sevilla on Monday as part of a swap deal that took highly rated 20 year old Spaniard Bryan Gil to Tottenham. Spurs have also signed Romero's Atalanta teammate Pierluigi Gollini on an initial loan deal to rival and potentially succeed club captain Hugo Lloris in goal.