Tottenham Hotspur’s defender Toby Alderweireld may be on the move this summer, and he could hold the key to a genuine title challenge for Liverpool.
Liverpool’s Achilles heel of recent years has been there defence. Players coming and going, goalkeepers switching and swapping with every game, but the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk has brought some much needed stability to Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool team – who have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 8 games in all competitions.
Van Dijk arrived with a hefty price tag and wage too, but so far he seems to be justifying both. But Liverpool remain behind Manchester United in 3rd place in the Premier League, with Champions League quarter-final fixtures against League leaders Manchester City in April.
So it seems the jigsaw is still uncomplete. Every football fan recognises Liverpool attacking prowess – City and Liverpool are the Leagues free-scorers this season, with 85 and 73 goals scored respectively, with Manchester United and Tottenham on 58 and 59.
Although Liverpool boasts the worst defensive record of the top 5 teams, conceding 34 compared to City’s 20.
So could another world class defensive addition be the key to success at Anfield? Belgian Alderweireld has become a fan favourite at White Hart Lane for his commanding presence and on-the-ball ability. But the defender is struggling to reach agreements over a new contract, and due to a clause in his current contract, could leave for as little as £25 million come the summer.
£25 million for a defender would’ve seemed expensive 5 years ago, but for a player of Alderweireld’s ability, £25 million is next to nothing. Though Liverpool are not the only ones after Alderweireld, Manchester United, PSG and Chelsea are all rumoured to be after him, with the latter prepared to offer the 29 year old £150,000 a week.
It is reported that Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is prepared to let Alderweireld move on, so the decision really, is down to him.
Tottenham and Daniel Levy are unlikely to offer the big pay-rise that he is demanding and probably deserves, and with Chelsea already stating they are prepared to, and big-spenders Manchester United and PSG in the race, it boils down to whether Liverpool are prepared to as well.
Van Dijk is reportedly one of the highest earning players at Anfield, and still earn a huge (but still only reported) £180,000 a week. So Liverpool have the money, evidently, but are they prepared to put even more on the line in an attempt to bridge the gap to Manchester City in a realistic title challenge next season?