Spurs want Eriksen and Vertonghen to sign new deals

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur want Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen and Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen to follow centre back Toby Alderweireld by signing new contracts at the Premier League club, manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - December 15, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld celebrates after the match REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Vertonghen’s Belgium team mate Alderweireld, whose deal was set to expire at the end of the current campaign, earlier penned a new contract until 2023. The central defender would have been free to negotiate with foreign clubs next month.

The 30-year-old Alderweireld has been a mainstay in the Spurs defence since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2015.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he told Spurs TV on Friday. “I am honoured to play for this club and am a small piece of getting to the next level.”

Spurs became Champions League regulars under former manager Mauricio Pochettino and challenged for major honours but failed to win a trophy during the Argentine’s five-year reign.

The deal is a boost for Mourinho, who wanted Alderweireld last year when he was in charge of Manchester United, but the Portuguese said he had only a little influence on the deal.

“We are happy, Toby is happy, I believe the supporters are also happy. It’s really good news,” he told reporters.

“When I read his comments the thing that jumped out immediately was: ‘I couldn’t be happier in another place’. He loves it here. He was always happy here. He believes in a better future. He was more than happy to agree (a new deal).

“The only thing that maybe I had a little bit of influence on him is the fact that he knows my belief in him, he knows that I believe he can be very influential in the team. He has played every minute of every match since I arrived.”

Alderweireld has made seven appearances since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as manager last month.

But while Mourinho wants 27-year-old Eriksen and 31-year-old Vertonghen, who have contracts that expire at the end of the season, to stay at the club, he said Alderweireld’s new deal did not mean there would be a domino effect on other players.

“For a player in the last year of a contract to sign there must be a union of desires,” he said. “It’s the club, manager, player, agent, family and friends. With Toby that expression of desire came at the same time from every person involved.”

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said this week the club were not scared to sell playmaker Eriksen to a Premier League rival and were prepared to listen to offers in the January transfer window for a player who has said he wants a new challenge.

Asked on Friday if he would rather sell Eriksen to a foreign club, Mourinho said: “The only thing I will tell you about Christian is that I would like him to sign a new contract.”

Additional reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge