Does anyone really know what's going on with Toby? Jennifer Annely tries to make sense of it all - from the players perspective and ours.
I think I’m seeing things. I just saw Toby Alderweireld playing football and his national team manager; Roberto Martinez seems to think he’s happy and fit to play. Yes, I know, it’s not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but the last time I checked, he was injured.
I’m getting this feeling that Toby isn’t injured, but his contract at Spurs is.
One of my favourite things about football fans is that any one of us can hold a strong opinion about something that we have literally no information about and we will defend it to the death. We all know exactly who we should buy in the transfer window, how much we should pay players and who should start on Sunday, but to be honest I’m struggling with this one.
Oddly, I can see this issue from all sides and how this one particular contract issue seems to be bigger than just the player himself. I look at Toby and I realise that he is 29 and a frequent visitor to the doctor. For him this could be his last chance to have a bumper contract and set not only his family up, but his great-grand-kids too. I like the company I work for, but if you offered to triple my wages I’d be out the door as fast I could and he hasn’t been with Spurs for very long so I understand the lack of attachment. But, if he stays in England and wants to leave Spurs for a big payday, what are the other options?
I like the company I work for, but if you offered to triple my wages I’d be out the door as fast I could
The two main clubs that are being talked about are Chelsea and Manchester United neither of which seem very attractive at the moment. Toby could go to Chelsea who are currently below us in the table and will most likely sack their manager, Antonio Conte at the end of the season. Alternatively, he could head up to Man Utd, but while they are technically above us, they aren’t in with a shout of winning the league either. But really, league position and winning trophies isn’t really the point with these two. Conte at Chelsea seems to have lost the dressing room as they have just won the league (so the players have their usual season after off) and who knows who will replace him. He would be going into an awkward situation with a potential new manager who may not be interested in him.
Then we have Jose at Manchester United. Jose Mourinho seems like the worst manager to play for and a shadow of his former self. In a week when he has personally attacked the heritage of the club and some of his players in front of the media, it has made the Manchester United dressing room look like the worst place to be. Watching José’s’ press conference unfold this week has made me wonder about how much the culture and environment of the club really matters to a player.
Football is supposed to be fun and it actually looks like our players enjoy playing for Spurs and especially Pochettino. Here at Spurs Toby not only has his bff Jan, but by all accounts, the Spurs players seem to be genuine mates with each other. Pochettino also seems be even more amazing in person as he appears to us from afar as well. But, do you sack it all in to triple your wages even if you will be potentially miserable for a few years (from the lack of Uno most likely)?
At Spurs Toby not only has his bff Jan, but by all accounts, the Spurs players seem to be genuine mates with each other
Weirdly, I can also see the clubs perspective on this one as well and as usual Danny Levy has wedged himself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, if he pays Toby what he wants then he opens the door to allow players to march in and demand a pay increase. It seems that with the stadium being built that we are getting gradually closer to a world where we can pay players more, but it isn’t going to happen fast enough for Toby. If he gives in to him, he will probably either have to give into other players, which for the long term of the club is likely to be unsustainable or he says no and Toby leaves. Also, they have to be careful where they send him too. Kyle Walker left to Man City, tripled his wages and is likely to win the league this year. Having another player leave to triple his wages and lift a trophy is not a great advert to other Spurs players who are staying to be a part of Poch’s process.
Then we get back to me and the rest of us Spurs fans. I probably should disclose that I love Toby. I think he is the best defender in the league and I don’t grudge him the money at all. I voted for him for player of the year and I think unequivocally that our team is better when he plays. However, in light of the recent release of the costs of season tickets in the new stadium, I am now a bit hesitant to shout, “SHOW HIM THE MONEY FOOL”. All of a sudden it very much feels like my money. It feels hypocritical to both feel really angry about long standing season ticket holders being priced out of the club they love and demand that we chuck absurd amounts of money at an ageing, injury prone defender. I know that gate receipts are a very low amount of the actual clubs revenue, but it still feels wrong. I think deep down I’d rather let Toby go and they use the money to lower the season ticket costs.
Even though I have just weighed it all up, I still don’t feel any better or have any more insight into what the right thing to do is. But if Toby does go at least there is a bright side, Jonny Evans will totally be fine right?………..right?