Arsenal and Tottenham target Toby Alderweireld has revealed that talks with Dutch manager Ronald Koeman convinced him to snub interest from the north London rivals in favour of joining Southampton on a season-long loan deal.
The London Metro carries quotes from the Atletico Madrid defender which explains the thought process behind his decision to move to St Mary's when a clutch of higher profile clubs expressed an interest in his services.
Alderweireld was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer after Gunners boss Arsene Wenger set sights on the versatile 25-year-old, but missed out on his signature after Koeman made contact with the player directly.
"I had a good talk with the coach," Alderweireld told Southampton’s official site after completing the deadline day deal. "It’s nice to hear that he likes my play.
"He called me and said that he really wants me to come. A trainer that believes in me is really important.
‘"For me, it was very important for me to play this season. The coach gave me a solution for my option at Atlético."
Mauricio Pochettino was also rumoured to be keen on taking Alderweireld to White Hart Lane, so it will be particularly satisfying for Southampton fans to see that their club has seemingly got one over on Spurs, where their former manager is now in charge.
Refreshingly, it appears that the Belgian paid little attention to reputations, and decided against linking up with international team-mates like Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham in favour of pursuing the move that would benefit his own career most.
"Everyone knows the Premier League and I really wanted to join the Premier League," he continued. "It’s a very big step for my career [and] I had to make the right decision.
"I think Southampton in this stage of my career is the right step. It’s something that everybody says, but I’m very happy to play in the Premier League. It’s a dream come true."
Alderweireld is expected to line up in the central defensive position alongside newly appointed captain Jose Fonte, but will also provide cover for Nathaniel Clyne at right-back.
His arrival will go some way to filling the void left by Croatian defender Dejan Lovren and talented teenager Calum Chambers, who both left the south coast this summer to join Liverpool and Arsenal.
With a number of high-profile exits from Southampton during the transfer window it's been very much a summer of transition for a club that finished impressively in eighth place in the Premier League last season.
However, Saints have reinvested their money well and Koeman has put together a squad capable of competing in England's top-flight again in 2014/15, with Alderweireld arguably the biggest transfer coup that came through on deadline day.
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