Toby Alderweireld has been linked with many teams across Europe this summer. In a similar, in fact identical, transfer situation to Tottenham Hotspur’s latest newbie Christian Eriksen.
Ajax would love to have kept the Belgian international this season, but in recent years the Dutch giants have not stood in the way of star players moving away to pastures new and bright. And with the
Alderweireld, who was the subject of a failed bid from Norwich City this summer, was also linked with Everton and Arsenal - as well as teams from Russia, Germany and Italy.
But Liverpool were widely expected to make a move for the player, and at the end of last week it was reported they were ready to make that approach.
Considered the perfect option as a replacement for the now retired Jamie Carragher, he would have been a cost effective option for Brendan Rodgers.
Note the past tense, as Alderweireld will complete a move to Atletico Madrid today, after the details of a £7million-odd deal in the Spanish capital were thrashed out yesterday.
The Spanish side have been in talks with the 24-year-old throughout August and have now signed him up to a four-year deal.
Liverpool have moved on fast, with Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho, of Sporting Lisbon and Paris Saint-Germain respectively, arriving for medicals this weekend.
But Alderweireld’s career path now bears an uncanny resemblance to that of a current Everton player, albeit one who cannot buy a game at the moment.
Johnny Heitinga was at Ajax for many years, and in 2008 - also at the age of 24 - he left Ajax for Atletico Madrid.
But Spain was an unhappy time for the Dutch international.
He featured 32 times for the club, scoring three goals but he was never settled with Los Colchoneros.
A year after signing an unhappy Heitinga was flogged to Everton for £6.2 million.
Alderweireld will hope for better times in the Spanish capital.
image: © Ruud Schobbers