Just hours after it seemed certain that Toby Alderweireld was set for a move to Tottenham Hotspur, it has emerged that Southampton still believe they are in pole position to sign the defender, and are threatening legal action if they don’t get their man.
As touched on earlier, Atleti had inserted a clause in the loan agreement with Southampton, where Toby spent last season on loan, that would let them cancel the €10 million option-to-buy by paying Saints a €2 million penalty fee.
While it looked as if Atlético had done just that, in order to sell Alderweireld to the highest bidder, it turns out that Atleti had only instructed Southampton of their intention to invoke the clause.
According to the Daily Mail, there is confusion over whether or not Atleti actually paid the money in time.
If true, it would be a spectacular error by the Atlético board. It could mean they are legally bound to sell Toby to Southampton, missing out on around €8 million in the process.
If Alderweireld turns down Southampton, as it is believed he is keen to despite spending a year on loan at St Mary’s, then Saints believe they could well be due a lucrative compensation package.
What we thought could be a shrewd bit of business by Atleti – signing Alderweireld for €7 million only two years ago – could well turn out to be a humiliating mistake.
According to ‘sources close to the deal’, Alderweireld is still virtually certain of signing for Tottenham, despite the threat of legal action.