‘I could earn a lot more somewhere else’ – Mourinho key to Alderweireld re-signing at Tottenham


The Belgium defender has committed his future to the north London club and says the new manager’s appointment helped him reach his decision

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld says Jose Mourinho was a decisive factor in signing a new deal at the club, admitting he could have earned considerably higher wages elsewhere.

The 30-year-old was about to enter the final six months of his contract in north London before committing to fresh terms last month.

Prior to signing a new deal a number of clubs including Serie A outfit Roma had been linked with the Belgium international.

The former Atletico Madrid man admits he was tempted to seek a move elsewhere but was impressed by the steps taken by the club to keep him.

He also says the arrival of Mourinho, who succeeded Mauricio Pochettino in November, proved crucial to his final decision.

“Financially the club made a good effort that showed me they really wanted me so that gave me respect,” Alderweireld told the Telegraph.

“I could maybe earn a lot more somewhere else, but then I chose loyalty, that’s worth something as well.

“I talked to my wife, we have a second kid on the way. First of all, I asked her: ‘What do you want?’ She said she’s happy to stay, she loves it here, but that I can choose whatever I want. That gave me the opportunity to explore everything that I wanted.

“But the more that I thought about a new episode somewhere else, the more I thought, ‘No, I just want to stay.’ I’ve always been happy here since day one. I’ve felt very wanted here and have a very good connection with the fans.

“Then, of course, the last step was the manager, who really believed in me. I had a good connection with him from day one. So all those small steps took me into the big decision to stay.”

After beginning his Tottenham tenure with three successive victories, Mourinho has seen his side struggle for consistency in recent weeks.

Spurs have won just one of their last four games and were beaten 1-0 by Southampton on New Year’s Day.

Alderweireld admits recent below-par performances have drawn a stinging reaction from Mourinho, a manager used to competing for titles.

“If you are not performing well, he’s angry. That’s normal,” Alderweireld added. “He’s a winner. When we don’t win, he’s not happy. That’s very simple.

“He’s a manager you don’t want to let down. It’s a negative that you don’t want him angry. It’s not about wanting to let him down.

“We had a good connection with the manager before. We achieved a lot of big things. And it’s the same now – everyone believes in what Jose says and thinks and how  we need to play.”

One of the reasons Mourinho was brought to the club was his reputation as a serial winner.

For all Pochettino’s success in establishing the club as Champions League regulars, he did not win a trophy during his five-and-a-half year spell at the club.

Tottenham, who begin their FA Cup campaign with a third-round trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday, have not won a trophy of any description since the 2008 League Cup, with Mourinho’s arrival seen as an attempt to end that drought as soon as possible.

Alderweireld admits the players are desperate to win silverware but also feels Pochettino’s achievements in rebuilding the club are comparable to a trophy.

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“Imagine the last four seasons, four times in top four, improving in Champions League every time and reaching the final  – or one FA Cup? It is short-term vision for me,” he said.

“It is always a discussion, FA Cup or top four? Of course, I want to win a trophy  but you have to be realistic in what you have achieved. It would be stupid to think the last four seasons were worth nothing because we didn’t win a trophy.

“The club had taken a lot of big steps, that has taken a lot of big effort in difficult times – at Wembley, going away from White Hart Lane, things like that. So, we can see what we have done as some sort of trophy but, of course, we want to win one.”


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