The month began with news of yet another major signing for an Arsenal team that appears to be restructuring under new manager Unai Emery. The Gunners have some ground to make up at all different points on the pitch, and while no world-class name or gigantic contract has been brought in yet, supporters should be cautiously optimistic over Emery’s approach. And while it may still be a long shot it sounds as if Toby Alderweireld may be in play for Arsenal.
Playing for both Tottenham Hotspur and the Belgian national team, Alderweireld has established himself as a fine central defender on the Premier League stage and could be just the sort of player many have longed for to boost the Gunners’ defence.
Discussing some of the biggest potential Premier League signings to watch for this summer, one piece suggested that Tottenham is resigned to the fact that they will sell Alderweireld if a sizable enough offer materializes. The Belgian has been reluctant to sign any extension with the Spurs, and there is only one year left on his current deal, making it a good time for the Spurs to test the market. It should also be noted that the same article looked at things from a betting perspective and noted Manchester United as the favourite to retain the defenseman’s services, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-German also mentioned. (If nothing else, this should speak to Alderweireld’s quality these past few seasons, even if he dealt with injuries for much of 2017/18.)
At least one Arsenal supporter seems to believe the Gunners can get involved, however. Former player Perry Groves has backed a move for Alderweireld, suggesting it would be “hilarious” if Arsenal raided its cross-town rival. Groves called the centre back his “dream” signing for Arsenal this summer, and while his opinion means little in terms of actual influence or decision-making, it does make you wonder if Arsenal might not have an outside chance at this sort of move. It would be unexpected merely because of the rivalry and because Arsenal’s name hasn’t emerged in major rumours connected to this particular player. But from a pure football perspective it’s hard not to agree with Groves.
José Mourinho is known to be deeply interested in Alderweireld’s services, which does make Old Trafford the logical favourite as a landing place. At this stage however it is believed Tottenham won’t make any decisions before the end of the World Cup – which means there’s plenty of time for things to change.
It’s a long shot, but one worth keeping in mind.