The reports that the club are after £75m for Toby Alderweireld from Manchester United may come as a surprise to some, but I think we can put this down to another game of brinkmanship from Daniel Levy.
Of course, the Mirror story could be well off the mark, but it does sound like something the chairman would do. The reasoning behind the price tag looks to be quite straightforward. We rate Toby as the best defender in the Premier League. Liverpool paid £75m for van Dijk, therefore the Belgian is worth just as much, if not more.
That obviously omits the fact that our no.4 will be available for just £25m next summer if we activate our option to extend his deal beyond 2019. However, it is not us who are setting the precedent for this but United. In their deal for Alexis Sanchez, they exchanged a player in Henrikh Mkhitaryan they valued at £35m for a player with just six months left on his contract.
The club are therefore in a very good position to argue for a substantial sum. Yet, even if all the above is a true reflection of what’s going on, the question has to be asked: should we be selling to United in the first place?
Although Toby’s recent injuries have suggested he isn’t as integral to our first team as he once was, there is a case to be made that, like with Kyle Walker and Manchester City, we will be strengthening our rivals if we make any deal.
I’m sure I’m not the only fan who would accept a fee lower than £75m from a foreign club. I am fine with the Belgian international leaving this summer but I would much prefer if he was sold to a team like Paris Saint-Germain or Juventus.
As fans, we tend to downplay the ability of players when they leave. It is a natural coping mechanism to say that we will be better off without them. Remember, we had the best defence in the Premier League two years running with Alderweireld in the side.
This campaign, we have conceded ten more goals than the previous season. Statistically speaking we are worse off. As I said in my post yesterday, I am a big fan of Davinson Sanchez and I firmly believe he will develop into a superb centre-back, but that doesn’t mean losing Toby won’t be a setback; particularly if he joins United.
To win trophies, this club must continue to strengthen in every position. We could use the money from the 29-year-old’s sale to do just that, but that shouldn’t mean we should be improving our rivals’ chances of winning something at the same time.