Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 March 2018

Alderweireld seals Tottenham move

Toby Alderweireld has joined Tottenham after impressing on loan at Southampton last season
Toby Alderweireld has joined Tottenham after impressing on loan at Southampton last season

Toby Alderweireld may have completed a dream move to Tottenham - but the Belgium defender could still be involved in a legal wrangle between Southampton and Atletico Madrid.

The 26-year-old moves to White Hart Lane having spent last season on loan with Ronald Koeman's Southampton, who had a deal in place to sign the former Ajax man.

Under the terms of the loan, Atletico could pay £1.5million to Saints to cancel that agreement but the south coast club claim that the La Liga outfit did not do so in time and therefore believe they should have been the front-runners to sign Alderweireld.

Despite the uncertainty over any outstanding fee or potential legal proceedings, the player completed a move to White Hart Lane - where he will join up with at least three familiar faces from his international team.

"I'm very proud to become a Spurs player," he said.

"I'm very happy to be here and I hope to have a wonderful time with this team. From the beginning I knew a lot about it (the club) from Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli.

"I know the players from the national team and I played with Jan at Ajax, we had a central defensive partnership. It's nice when you join another club that you know a couple of players. I hope to get to know them a little better now.

"It's a big club and it's always been a dream to play at a club like Spurs. Now that dream is coming true so I'm very happy, very proud and I will give my best."

Alderweireld also took to Twitter to tell of his pleasure at completing a move to Spurs, whilst also thanking Southampton.

''Very excited to join @SpursOfficial. Looking fwd (sic) to this but also looking back @ a great @SouthamptonFC season. Great club & fans! Thanks!,'' he wrote.

With 47 caps for Belgium, as well as three Eredivisie titles and a Primera Division winners' medal, Alderweireld brings a wealth of experience to White Hart Lane.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has now brought in three new defenders to shore up a back-line that looked uncertain at times last year.

Alderweireld joins centre-back Kevin Wimmer and former Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier in moving to Tottenham, who will again compete in the Europa League in the forthcoming season.

On a busy Wednesday for the club, Tottenham also announced a deal with the NFL that will see them host fixtures in their new stadium.

The Premier League club are due to move into a new home in 2018 and will now host regular-season NFL games on an artificial surface which will be installed under the regular grass pitch used by Spurs.

The club announced a 10-year deal with the NFL that will see them host a minimum of two games a year at the same time they released updated images and news on the redevelopment of their new 61,000-seater stadium and the surrounding areas.

National football stadium Wembley has already hosted 11 NFL fixtures and, as the deal with Tottenham is not exclusive, could continue to welcome the sport.

''Wembley has enjoyed a unique and successful relationship with the NFL since the International Series commenced in 2007,'' a statement released on the stadium's official website read.

''American Football has been embraced by fans in the UK and Europe and has grown year-on-year.

''Amongst the numerous successes has been the growth of the Jacksonville Jaguars whose community engagement and annual appearances have given a sense of the NFL's long-term commitment to the sport in the UK.

''Wembley Stadium has a proven record of hosting some of the world's biggest events, from record breaking concerts, UEFA Champions League Finals, to the upcoming Rugby World Cup fixtures and the UEFA 2020 European Championship Semi-Finals and Final and we look forward to the NFL remaining part of this iconic venue's annual schedule.''

Both Spurs and a potential London-based NFL franchise were unsuccessful in bids to take tenancy of the Olympic Stadium - soon to become the new home of West Ham - but London Mayor Boris Johnson believes more fixtures in the capital could lead to a franchise following soon.

"Anyone who has seen American Football at Wembley Stadium cannot fail to have been thrilled by the spectacle," he said.

"The wise heads that run the NFL have clearly not missed the fact that Londoners are going absolutely gangbusters for Gridiron.

"We are already working very closely with the NFL, including on plans to get more Londoners involved in the sport, and we believe that building on the success of NFL at Wembley by staging more games in an area of the city that has been earmarked for a massive programme of economic regeneration and investment makes perfect sense.

"Touchdowns in Tottenham can only add to our reputation as a global sporting powerhouse, and help us take another step towards our goal of having a permanent NFL franchise here in London."

Press Association

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