To silly season or to not silly season, this is the question.
In this case, the Daily Mail recently reported that Chelsea are keen to submit a “shock” bid for Tottenham's best defender, Toby Alderweireld due to contract talks recently breaking down between player and club. There had already been a reported interest in the past, courtesy of sources such as the Guardian and the Evening Standard. This would make the former Ajax academy product the first player to move from the North London club to Chelsea since Micky Hazard back in September 1985.
As excellent as Alderweireld may be, despite being unable to establish himself at Atletico Madrid and thus ending up in the Premier League where he’s played at both Southampton and Spurs, this rumor needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt, and not just because of the sourcing. Alderweireld just turned 29 in March and with a rumoured price tag of approximately £45 million, seems well out of bounds as far as Cheslea’s recent transfer market m.o. is concerned. And that’s before we get to the part where Spurs and Chelsea would somehow agree to do business for the first time in over 30 years.
That said, Alderweireld’s departure from Spurs seems all but a done a deal at this point. Due to a long-term hamstring injury, he had been out for several months and returned only recently. But Pochettino has been reluctant to use him, claiming that the previously integral member of Spurs’ backline was not ready despite Alderweireld playing without any problems for Belgium back in March.
All of these factors have supposedly led to negotiations over a new deal breaking down, and with just one year left on his contract, several top teams are reportedly ready to pounce. Spurs do have a club-option for a one-year extension to the contract, but this would activate a £25 million buy-out clause which would, for the following 14 days, enable any interested club to trigger it
As a result, the reported £45 million that Spurs want will most probably be the going price. And even though Chelsea seem set at centre back due to the return of Kurt Zouma from his Stoke City loan at the end of the season, the possibility of acquiring one of the best defenders in the Premier League should not be dismissed too readily.
However, chances of such a deal taking place are slim to say the least. As much as we would love to see Toby in a Chelsea shirt, if for nothing else just to annoy Spurs fans and chairman Daniel Levy, that’s precisely why he (or any other good player from Spurs) will not be sold to Chelsea. We saw this with Luka Modric very clearly in 2011 and 2012 and the situation has not changed since.
The last player who joined Chelsea from Tottenham was Micky Hazard in 1985. Since then, no other player has made his way from North to South-West London. And that drought is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.