Yet to show any indication that he is willing to put pen to paper on a new deal, Toby Alderweireld’s future at Tottenham is still far from certain.
Alderweireld was subject of interest from Manchester United during the summer, but a deal failed to materialise with the Red Devils unwilling to meet Daniel Levy’s valuation of the Belgian (via Sky Sports).
However, with Alderweireld’s contract set to either expire or have the £25m release clause in it activated should Tottenham trigger the one-year extension in his current deal next summer (via Evening Standard), manager Mauricio Pochettino is likely to start drawing up contingency plans soon.
And if so, one player the Tottenham boss should have in mind is West Ham’s Issa Diop.
Diop only arrived at the London Stadium from Toulouse a few months ago, but has already caught the eye with some impressive displays and could be the perfect replacement for Alderweireld.
The 21-year-old was one of the standout performers in West Ham’s 3-1 win over Manchester United last month with Jose Mourinho later coming out to praise the central defender.
“[He had a] fantastic match,” the Manchester United boss told BT Sport (via Evening Standard) after the game. “Congratulations to the scout that found a 21-year-old kid Diop – a monster who dominated in the duels.”
And while the latter part of Mourinho’s comments were likely to be a dig at Ed Woodward for failing to land him his own “monster” in the last transfer window, the Portuguese coach’s overall assessment of Diop is an accurate one.
At 6’3″, the Frenchman is dominant in his aerial duels and is a physically imposing figure altogether. But as well at that, Diop is very capable with the ball at his feet, able to play it out of defence — though he can lose possession fairly cheaply from time to time.
Diop’s disciplinary record is something that may need fine-tuning, too, with the France U21 international having racked up plenty of yellow cards during his time in Ligue 1.
Nevertheless, Diop is on the road to becoming a complete defender, a defender who Tottenham must consider poaching from their London rivals should Alderweireld depart the club next summer.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!