Pochettino set to rival Southampton for defender

12 months after leaving them for Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino could upset Southampton again by beating them to Toby Alderweireld.

Pochettino quit the Saints for White Hart Lane last summer in a move which wasn’t received well at St Mary’s, particularly as it came at a time when they were also losing a number of their first team squad. Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all left for Liverpool, whilst Callum Chambers jumped ship to sign for Arsenal and Luke Shaw went to Manchester United.

Little did Southampton fans realise at the time they would go on to enjoy a hugely-impressive 2014/15 season, when under the leadership of Ronald Koeman and armed with exciting talent such as Saido Mane, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic, they finished seventh in the table – which is a place higher than Pochettino’s placing the year before and the highest in over a decade.

Alderweireld played his part in this success, as he featured 25 times during the Premier League campaign during a loan spell from Atletico Madrid. Although the South Coast club had the option to make this move permanent, the Spaniards also inserted a clause which would nullify this trigger for a compensation fee, which they have done in order to spark a bidding war.

And it has now been widely reported that Tottenham will for the signature of the Belgian international, who has already indicated a desire to link up with Jan Vertonghen in London. Pochettino is eager to add more quality to his starting XI as he makes a bid for a top-four finish next season, something which eluded him by one place and six points during his debut term in charge.

Speaking after his played the full match as Belgium’s beat France 4-3 in a friendly last month, Alderweireld, 26, told Sky Sports: “I will go back to Spain next week and we will talk. We will see what happens. I hope a decision will be made quickly, otherwise it will be all summer. Let’s see what comes up and I will make a decision. We will see what clubs come in.”

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