Despite triggering an extension clause in his contract, Toby Alderweireld could still end up leaving Tottenham in the summer.
The 30-year-old Belgian, whose deal will now be expiring in 2020 instead of 2019, has had a £25m release clause in his contract activated (Telegraph) in a development that is likely to catch the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
As a result, Tottenham could now make a move for Real Betis central defender Aissa Mandi with El Desmarque (via Football Espana) reporting on the north London club’s interest.
How, though, does Mandi compare to the man he could be replacing?
Predominantly a right-back during his days at Stade de Reims, Mandi has been playing in central defence at Betis this season where he has thrived.
There, the 27-year-old has proven to be a pain for opposition centre-forwards with his aerial prowess and strong tackling.
What stands out most about Mandi, however, is probably the way he can play himself out of trouble.
The Algeria international has the confidence and technique to make progressive passes when under pressure to help Quique Setien’s men retain possession and get on the front foot.
Based on that, Mandi could indeed be a perfect fit for this Tottenham side who are encouraged to play a positive game under Mauricio Pochettino.
TT Grade: C+
Before Virgil van Dijk, there was Toby Alderweireld, the Premier League’s leading centre-half.
For a period, he was the standout individual when it came to that position, only for injuries and the uncertainty surrounding his future to change that.
Both of the above saw Alderweireld spend time outside of Tottenham’s starting XI and, as a result, fall behind the likes of van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte.
Since then, though, the Belgium international has been restored back into the side to make the north London club a stronger outfit.
With Alderweireld’s clean and perfectly-timed tackles, among his other strengths, Tottenham look more solid at the back and a much better team overall.
TT Grade: A-
It is not hard to see the thinking behind Tottenham targeting a defender like Mandi to replace Alderweireld; the Betis man ticks most of the boxes when it comes to being that modern-day centre-half the Premier League elite so desperately crave.
However, given where Alderweireld once was and what he is still capable of, you cannot help but feel underwhelmed with Mandi being touted as a potential successor.
With where Tottenham want to get to, supporters will probably be hoping for Daniel Levy to deliver someone with a bit more experience at the top and a winning mentality as the north London club continue to pursue their first Premier League title.
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