Chelsea could have saved their season by signing Toby Alderweireld

The 26-year-old has been masterful for Tottenham Hotspur - and is just what Chelsea needed this season.

Praising Toby Alderweireld is no longer fresh or new. Tottenham fans know it. Opposition fans know it. The critics know it.

Alderweireld is simply a brilliant defender. Mauricio Pochettino thinks he's one of the best in the Premier League and there are supporters who think he is the top flight's best outright.

Not only is the level of his defending exceptionally high, the Belgian's distribution is phenomenal.

A centre-back has made a huge difference to Tottenham's overall line of attack. He can produce moments of individual brilliance, as he did setting up Dele Alli against Everton, or can simply keep things tight with a good pass under pressure here or there.

But, while Spurs did a superb job recruiting him, why didn't Chelsea try to lure him to Stamford Bridge?

Indeed, the one team that needed a centre-back more than Tottenham was Chelsea. After all, they spent all summer hunting John Stones with offers reaching as high as £40 million - as reported by the Daily Mirror among many others.

They still need a defender and one that can pass out from the back would have made a huge difference to their season. Alderweireld, after all, has transformed a whole back four single-handedly.

And Tottenham only paid £11.4 million for the 26-year-old, according to the Guardian.

You could buy five Alderweirelds for what Chelsea may ultimately end up paying for Stones. Everton didn't even let him go - while Alderweireld was fully available.

Instead of scrapping to have a chance of top six right now, they could have been far higher even with all the troubles Jose Mourinho experienced at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian could have saved Chelsea's season.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch