Man United hand massive blow in race for 29-year-old No.1 defensive target

Manchester United have been dealt a massive blow in race for Toby Alderweireld, as Tottenham Hotspur have extended the defender’s contract by a further 12 months after triggering a clause in his deal.

The 29-year-old centre-back has been a mainstay of a Tottenham side which have become established Champions League regulars under Mauricio Pochettino and are back in the Premier League title race following Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester City last night.

Toby Alderweireld was heavily linked with a move to Man United last summer, but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is believed to have vetoed a deal, harbouring concerns over the player’s injury record and value for money at 29 years of age.

The Spurs were said to be demanding £70m for Belgium international and although they have now safeguarded themselves against the prospect of losing him for free in the summer, his contract now includes a £25m release clause which can be activated in the summer.

Man United are understood to maintain their interest but will wait to finalise their long-term plan to replace Jose Mourinho before settling on their close season targets, while Inter are thought to be monitoring Alderweireld’s situation.