Toby Alderweireld has won a whole host of admirers this season, but he insists if it were up to him, he would extend his stay at Southampton.
Ronald Koeman lured the Belgian international from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid during the summer, and the defender has gone on to make 16 appearances as the Saints push for a top-four finish in the Premier League. His performances have been of such a standard that he has reportedly drawn interest from a number of clubs, including champions Manchester City.
As things stand, Alderweireld is set to return to the Vicente Calderon during the summer in preparation for the 2015/16 campaign and to see out the remaining two years of his contract. But it remains to be seen if Diego Simeone has included the 26-year-old in his plan for the future, and besides, given the choice, the defender insists he would prefer to remain at St Mary’s.
“If I could choose then of course I would like to stay here,” he told BBC Radio Solent. “It’s not up to me. Atletico could decide that they want me back. I have two years left there so it is difficult for me to answer the question. I’m enjoying the Premier League, I’m enjoying playing for Southampton – I love the club and I love the supporters. I am enjoying it and my focus is on Southampton.”
Southampton have the option of taking Alderweireld for just £6million in the summer, yet Atletico have included a clause that would allow them to cancel this clause for £1.5million. By doing so Los Rojiblancos could then demand a much higher fee for the signature of the former Ajax star, who could well be tempted to wait for the interest of clubs in the UEFA Champions League.