Earlier this summer, there was a belief that a deal for Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld could be completed by Manchester United. Jose Mourinho had decided that a new centre half was essential to his plans, even though he currently has 5 senior central defenders at this disposal, and the Belgian had been identified as the primary target. Of course, the deal fell through once Spurs chairman Daniel Levy hiked the price, and with United unwilling to meet the London club’s valuation of Alderweireld, and refusing to add Anthony Martial into the negotiating equation, the situation has been at a stand still for almost a month.
However, Miguel Delaney in the Independent is claiming that United remain confident that a deal for the defender can still be done before this summer’s transfer window shuts in August. Spurs currently value Alderweireld at £55m, and given United’s reluctance to pay a similar fee for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic due to the player’s age (28 at the time) last summer, this is presumably the current sticking point; the club do not wish to pay over the odds for a player approaching his 30s who will have limited resale value.
Still, it’s likely that Mourinho’s bosses will be left with little choice, given the very public way in which the Portuguese is reacting to the club’s failure to deliver his required targets this summer. The acquisitions of FC Porto’s Diogo Dalot, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred and Stoke City’s Lee Grant have certainly strengthened the squad in several key positions, but the former Chelsea boss does not appear to fancy his team’s chances to challenging for the Premier League title without a commanding and experienced centre back. As such, it appears as if Mourinho’s mood for this upcoming campaign will very much depend on if the club decides to bring in any other players between now and the start of the Premier League season.