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Southampton, Atletico Madrid in legal battle over Alderweireld rights as Spurs, City wait

Aston Villa v Southampton - Premier League

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa is blocked by Toby Alderweireld of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park on November 24, 2014 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Toby Alderweireld went from UEFA Champions League finalist with Atletico Madrid to loan coup for surprising Southampton last season, and the next stop on his whirlwind tour’s going to include more lawyers than usual.

Saints believe a deadline has passed for Atleti to act on a $2.25 million buy-back clause from its loan, and that its acceptance of a $10 million-plus option to make the loan permanent is done and dusted.

Atleti, it follows, believe it has missed no such deadline and that Alderweireld is theirs to sell to the highest bidder. Several Premier League clubs wait in the wings to find out where to send their bids, though Saints want Alderweireld to help them fill the gap caused by the sale of Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool.

From the BBC:

It would mean Atletico can no longer sell Alderweireld to the highest bidder with interest also reported from Tottenham and Manchester City.

In May, the 43-cap international expressed his desire to stay in the Premier League next season.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has also spoken positively about completing a permanent deal for the defender.

Despite the love heaped on Clyne and Ryan Bertrand last season -- Psst! They’re English -- Alderweireld was perhaps only second to Jose Fonte in the Saints’ defensive performance pecking order.

Who knows if this process will take long to clean up? It would seem the contract should have an expiration date on it despite the possibility of different languages across leagues. In fact, the Daily Mail reported that Spurs think they have an $18 million deal for the player done with Atleti. Here’s to a quick resolution.

Follow @NicholasMendola