In a Mexican standoff with cheque books as the weapons of choice, Daniel Levy and Ed Woodward do battle in the firing line. Both are engaged in a multi-million-pound game of who’ll blink first: United want Alderweireld, Spurs want Martial; United refuse to strengthen a Premier League rival, Spurs will only agree to a deal without Martial’s inclusion if the fee is eye-wateringly irresistible. Got that? Good. Now with the ever-chipper José Mourinho desirous for Alderweireld’s arrival, it’s sum-slinger Woodward who’s likely to fire first, triggering a punitive bid so a moaning Mou gets his man. To not acquire Martial as part of the sale would be scrutinised as suicide for Spurs, but can the club really afford to rebuff a bid north of £50m for a player who has no desire to sign a new contract; the same player who could leave for a mere £25m next summer? Since bridges have been burned between Spurs and Alderweireld’s representatives — both had apparently agreed to a £130,000-a-week contract in principle only for the latter to go back and demand a further £50,000 on top; Alderweireld senior has since been banned from Hotspur Way — we now have a world-class player that’s not wanted by his club. As a result, rumours regarding potential replacements have been rife since January. This summer it’s Ajax prodigy Matthijs de Ligt who’s been appraised the ultimate Alderweireld successor; it’s courtesy of his similitude to the Brylcreemed Belgian. A few minutes into a de Ligt highlights reel on YouTube will exhibit why: he’s composed in possession, dynamic in the last line of defence and boasts a sublime passing range — little wonder why the Eredivisie giants value the 18-year-old at £80m-plus. Despite the indubitable ability of de Ligt and the cognisance that spending signals ambition, it would be imprudent of Spurs to part with a fee doubling their own transfer record for a young, talented, ball-playing centre-half, when they already have access to a young, talented, ball-playing centre-half in Juan Foyth. A forgotten figure of late, it was this time last year Spurs were battling with Paris Saint-Germain for the highly-rated Estudiantes youngster. After putting pen to paper on 30 August 2017 (we left it late there, didn’t we?) Foyth has played a bit-part role having been fourth in the centre-back pecking order — and third following Alderweireld’s injury — unable to displace the formidable Vertonghen-Sánchez partnership. There have been signs of quality though. Cast your mind back to a bitterly cold January evening in South Wales: an 82nd-minute Harry Kane equaliser saved Spurs’s blushes as they drew 1-1 with Newport County. The game will be remembered as the night Tottenham survived a glorious FA Cup giant killing, but it should be remembered as the night when Juan Foyth proved himself worthy of the Spurs shirt. On a pitch better suited to the rugby team who play on it, Foyth was the standout performer. Undeterred by the physicality of the opposition, the Argentine rose to the occasion and was uncompromising with his style of play — constantly looking to play out from the back at every opportunity provided, despite the conditions. If this was Pochettino’s test for the 19-year-old, he passed with flying colours. Eight months on from that night in Newport, Foyth now has the chance to mature from hot prospect to hot property. His manager is expecting big things this season: “[Juan] is 20 now and a great talent too. He is going to surprise many people. He is a great kid with a lot of quality to become one of the fantastic centre-backs in the Premier League and Europe too.” If Alderweireld is indeed sold for a lofty sum, Pochettino may have to put this prediction to the test — something which could turn out to be no bad thing.