Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld: I’m confident of making a step up

Belgian international defender Toby Alderweireld was interviewed by Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad in the aftermath of Ajax’s 32nd title win. Here is an extract of the interview, which you can read in full in the paper, translated into English.

HNB: Ajax coach Frank De Boer said during the winter break that you are one of three players whom he sees leaving this summer.

TA: It’s possible. I’ll look at it after the league campaign. It depends on what clubs will come calling, my chances of playing there are and where I will live. Bottom of the list is the financial aspect. Maybe I will stay at Ajax. Here you compete for trophies and I have already played in the Champions League for three years. And this club will still grow.

Ajax and Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld.

Ajax and Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld.

Are you therefore open to tearing up your current contract, which runs out in 2014?

That option depends on what will come up. I really don’t know yet.

On the other hand, you don’t exactly have a bumper contract here.

Many people forget that. When I signed on the dotted line, Ajax had a lot of debt and I earned maybe a quarter of what others were pocketing. I saw it as an investment, also because I wanted to give Ajax something back. That situation has changed a bit along the way. It’s not a problem, the money will come. It’s not my main motivation.

You have already been linked with Liverpool and Newcastle. Must your next club play in Europe?

That’s a tough question because then I will be ruling out some clubs. The circle of clubs where I want to go will shrink further. I would choose (to stay at) Ajax above a club who are mid-table in Germany. It has to be a step forward, on all fronts. In my head I have several teams. I have to feel that a club wants me. Suppose that Manchester City come: then Kompany will be before me in the pecking order. Is it then the sensible thing to do to go there in order to develop myself? No, in a team that already has eight centrebacks, I will be number nine. That doesn’t appeal at all.

Will you take the World Cup in Brazil into account when making your choice?

Of course.

Are you as good as Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen when they left?

It’s a difficult comparison to make. All three of us are very different types (of player). It is not because I don’t come out of defence ten times per game that Vertonghen is better than me. We play in a different way. If you are consistently in the Ajax side for four years and you win the title in three of those, then that says something. I am confident that I can make a step up.

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