Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has left out Toby Alderweireld from his Champions League squad.
The Belgian will not travel to Italy for matchday one, with Kieran Trippier also being left behind due to a ‘technical decision’.
It was a surprising announcement, with Alderweireld the club’s best defender.
It seems strange that Pochettino would not want him to feature.
Perhaps there is something going on behind the scenes that explains the move.
Pochettino denied that the move was for ‘tactical reasons’ and when probed on the term ‘technical’ he told the reporter to refer to a dictionary.
The Argentine coach was being very vague about everything, suggesting that something is happening.
Are Spurs preparing to sell Alderweireld in January?
Pochettino not selecting Alderweireld to travel for the first game could mean Tottenham are ready to cash in on the defender in January.
If he plays even a single minute of Champions League football for Spurs then that will mean he will be cup-tied.
Alderweireld being cup-tied is definitely off-putting for potential suitors.
So perhaps the case is that Tottenham are already in talks with a club about selling him in January.
But that club will not do any deal if he features in Europe.
Certainly, this notion will become much more valid if he misses the second game against Barcelona.
Pochettino could be trying to cover it up by leaving out Trippier as well.
Like Alderweireld, Trippier is a key part of the side and leaving him out takes the focus away from the centre-half a little.
Manchester United held a firm interest in him over the summer.
It’ll be interesting to see if he winds up at Old Trafford in January, and able to play matches in Europe.