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Toby Alderweireld has suggested he would like to return to Ajax before the end of his career and preferably before he is unable to make an impact for his former club.

The Belgian spent five years at Ajax from 2008-2013, winning three successive Eredivisie titles before leaving for Atletico Madrid.

After just one year in Spain, Alderweireld joined Southampton on loan. His performances impressed Tottenham enough to make a permanent move for him the following summer.

However, speculation around Alderweireld’s Spurs future has been rife all year after the defender turned down a new contract with the Londoners, provoking talk of a summer move to Manchester United.

That didn’t happen, but Alderweireld is out of contract at the end of the season and is likely to leave the club next summer, regardless of whether Tottenham take up the option to extend his deal because of a release clause that will be triggered.

Speaking to Dutch outlet De Telegraaf, the 29-year-old refused to rule out a return to Ajax.

“Never say never,”┬áhe said (as translated by HITC). “At this moment in my career I don’t think about that yet. I think I can go on for years at this level.

“If I ever did, it is not to take it easy. I do not want to be 36 years old and can hardly walk. When I return, I certainly want to leave something. And not only in the dressing room.

“Of course it is close to home in Belgium and I have a bond with the club, because I played football at Ajax for eight years, achieving championships.”

Alderweireld was at fault for PSV Eindhoven’s opening goal against Spurs in the Champions League on Wednesday night. It’s probably time for the club to begin identifying potential replacements.

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