Real Madrid have set out of favour Tottenham centre half Toby Alderweireld as their main transfer target this summer, and manager Mauricio Pochettino has done little to suggest he sees the Belgian as part of his plans despite the ongoing speculation.
Rumours have been circulating claiming that the Belgian could be available for around £55m at the end of the season, given that he's been forced to play second fiddle to Davinson Sanchez since the turn of the year. The 29-year-old has struggled with injury problems for a large part of the season, and he's only managed ten Premier League starts.
Pochettino has admitted those issues are a big part of the reason why he's unable to get in the Spurs team at the moment, but it seems to have alerted Real - as according to Spanish outlet Fichajes, Madrid have put Alderweireld to the top of their list. There's also the underlying issue of new contract discussions potentially impacting his place in the team.
Pochettino has even admitted that he won't simply hand Alderweireld any game time because the player is looking to make Roberto Martinez's Belgium squad ahead of this summer's World Cup, and that he has to earn his place in the Spurs team.
"I have an amazing relationship with Roberto," said the Spurs boss, via talkSPORT. "I understand his comment, like all the managers. If I am the Belgium manager, England manager or Argentina manager, I want all my players to play.
"But my focus is to manage Tottenham and win games with Tottenham. I cannot be kind with every single manager.
"I need to care for my club and I can only pick 11 players and we have plenty of international players. I can only pick 11 and if I pick one, another needs to stay on the bench or out of the squad.
"Toby in the last four months has struggled with his injury. I am not going to change the system because Toby needs games for the World Cup. I need to pick two centre-backs and if you are happy you keep the couple of players and he needs to wait.
"The interest for me is Tottenham, it's about Tottenham to win. I understand the (Belgium) manager but what can I do?"