Alderweireld focus on European push
Published 12/04/2015 | 12:16
Toby Alderweireld is ignoring the background noise about his future, such is the on-loan defender's determination to complete Southampton's "special season" by securing European qualification.
Eyebrows were raised last summer when the 26-year-old moved to St Mary's on a season-long loan, just months after playing for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final.
Alderweireld's form on the south coast has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham, but Ronald Koeman's side have the option to make the deal permanent for just £6.8million.
The Belgium international has expressed a desire to stay at Saints, but the waters are muddied by Atletico's ability to nullify the buy-out clause by paying them £1.5million.
Jose Luis Perez Caminero recently indicated the Primera Division club would invoke that clause, saying Diego Simeone's men were counting on him for next term, but Alderweireld is unclear whether he will be at St Mary's, the Vicente Calderon or elsewhere.
"I saw something in the Spanish papers," Alderweireld told Press Association Sport. "I don't know, I didn't hear from them. We will see.
"It is not (frustrating) because it does not matter what they say, what is in the papers.
"I am just focused on Southampton and we are playing for a European spot, so it is going to be a special season.
"I am focused, I am happy here, so, yeah, no problem for me."
Alderweireld has been one of Southampton's best players in a remarkable season.
Many predicted a relegation battle for Koeman's men, yet Saturday's 2-0 win against Hull saw them equal the record Premier League points tally of 56 set last year.
"It is has been a very nice season," Alderweireld said. "We like to play football, we have a good team and we have good results.
"We are playing for the European spots so I am happy."
The win over Hull was unconvincing but gave Southampton's faint top-four hopes a boost.
Bettering the fifth place of 1985 looks a big ask but not impossible after James Ward-Prowse's penalty and a late Graziano Pelle strike.
"We just have to look to ourselves and not to look to other teams," Alderweireld said. "We know we have six games left, so it is going to be a hard sprint.
"The games are all tough, like next week Stoke away. It is a very difficult game, but we are going to try and win our games.
"We know we have Tottenham at home so we can do good business, but first we have to go to Stoke and that is going to be difficult."
The result leaves Hull further in the mire given they face an unenviable run of fixtures from now until the end of the season.
City have a two-week break before their next match at Crystal Palace, where Michael Dawson knows they need to put Saturday's disappointment behind them.
"It is a massive disappointment," the Hull skipper said. "The first half, I thought we got right at them and I think (goalkeeper Steve Harper) Harps probably made one save.
"We were hoping to do the same in the second, but goals change games, big decisions in games.
"The yellow card incident where Alex (Bruce) is covered in claret, where (Graziano Pelle) has caught him flush straight in the face, t hat for me is a red card, but obviously with the penalty the ref got that right. Two big decisions.
"There was a lot more chances created by us than them, but at the end of the day we go away with no points which is a massive disappointment for us.
"The teams in and around us are winning, so it's about ourselves. We need to starting picking up some points."