Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has spoken out on his decision to pen a new long-term contract in north London.
Alderweireld, a 30-year-old Belgian international, has been on the books of Spurs since making the move to London from Atletico Madrid in 2015.
The no-nonsense stopper caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs with his stellar showings during a loan spell with Southampton during the 2014-15 campaign, with Tottenham having eventually splashed out a fee of around £12 million to secure his services.
And Alderweireld has since gone from strength to strength, establishing himself as one of the English top-flight’s finest defenders over the last couple of seasons.
Alderweireld staying put
However, in a saga that had been dragging on for some time, Spurs’ attempts to tie their star defender down to a new contract in the English capital had proven completely unfruitful.
This resulted in mounting rumours this past summer that the Belgian was being courted by some of European football’s heavyweights.
Speculation surrounding Alderweireld’s future had continued to circulate over the early months of the current campaign, too, with Tottenham fans having been forced to face up to the possibility that their defensive stalwart was set to move on for nothing next summer.
This was until this past weekend, when Alderweireld surprised the masses, by putting pen-to-paper on a new deal in north London.
The 30-year-old has committed his future to Spurs until the summer of 2023:
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 20, 2019
‘Always in my mind to stay’
As such, speaking in an interview with the Evening Standard earlier today, Alderweireld was inevitably drawn on his decision to stay put in the English capital.
The Belgian international, though, was keen to assure that he never actually considered moving on:
‘I understand the questions were there but I never thought about leaving.’
‘I don’t like to talk about myself but the only thing I can say about myself is that every game I do everything on the pitch that I can. Everything. I think that’s why maybe we have a good connection, the fans and me.’
‘I’m very happy and it was always in my mind to stay. It’s easy to talk now like this after I signed a deal but hand on my heart it’s true.’
Alderweireld was then questioned on whether Jose Mourinho’s arrival had influenced his decision to commit his future to Tottenham, to which the stopper responded:
‘Of course [Mourinho] is an influence but in a decision like this there’s a lot of things to consider. You talk with your family, of course my wife. I’m 30, you think, ‘Do I want something else?’
‘The more I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ the more my decision went towards Spurs. At the end, it was not a difficult decision.’
‘The connection with the fans was a big factor, big factor. From day one, it’s a cliche but I felt at home, I felt good.’
‘I think they appreciate what I’ve done for the club and I just want to pay them back with loyalty and with good performances in the next couple of seasons.’