Tottenham have activated a one-year extension clause in defender Toby Alderwiereld's contract, manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.
The centre-back has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United and would have been able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement in January with his previous deal set to expire at the end of this season.
However, these new terms will prevent Spurs from losing a prized asset for nothing, although the terms reportedly include a £25m buyout clause that will be active during the summer window.
News of this release clause will come as a boost to potential suitors of the Belgian, although it will cease to be active in the final two weeks of the transfer window, assuming a new, long-term deal is not signed before the end of the season removing the clause.
United have struggled at the back this season, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo all failing to inspire confidence as the Red Devils have shipped 31 goals in just 19 Premier League games, keeping only two clean sheets.
However, it seems they will not be able to get the 29-year-old in January for a cut-price fee and may be forced to turn their attentions elsewhere if they feel an immediate solution is required.
Tottenham made no senior signings this summer and, amidst the club keeping busy in trying to hang onto their current stars, they may well neglect to sign players for a second successive window.
"I told you before, we’re always open but it’s going to be difficult – maybe not impossible but difficult, yes," Pochettino told a press conference.
"Yes maybe every day we [himself, chief scout Steve Hitchin and chairman Daniel Levy] talk but it depends on if players are going to leave, and to have space to sign players. It depends on players out and then we’re going to see if we can add some quality to help the team. But I think it’s not going to be easy to add players in January. For sure it’s going to be tough to add.
"Until the market is open it’s difficult to talk because now we have a lot of games to play. But for sure in January when the market is going to be open that’s the moment when we’re going to talk with different players – players that maybe come to talk with us because they want to leave or they want to play more. It’s a normal period that we need to be open and careful about our decisions."