Manchester United have finally reached an agreement with Tottenham Hotspur for the transfer of Toby Alderweireld, according to the Express.

Jose Mourinho identified the Belgian as his number one choice to strengthen the defence at the club but the negotiations have become protracted over the summer with Daniel Levy unwilling to budge from an initial £75m asking price.

Ed Woodward had, however, been making lower offers, refusing to go higher than £40m for a player who would be available for £25m next year due to a clause in his contract. Woodward had hoped that he would be able to persuade Levy to sell at a much lower price considering the general willingness to let the player leave.

With neither side budging, United seemed happy for reports to appear in the press linking the club to Harry Maguire and Yerry Mina, and most recently, suggestions that Jerome Boateng may be considered as an alternative were treated seriously by most sources.

However, Alderweireld is believed to have informed Spurs of his wish to leave over the weekend, and the Boateng links have appeared to have softened Tottenham’s resolve, leading Woodward and Levy to agree a price for the transfer. It appears that the deal is conditional on Tottenham strengthening their own defence, hence the delay in an official announcement, though the Express report that Woodward has already told Mourinho that he has reached agreement to bring Alderweireld to Old Trafford.

If the reports are accurate, it means that we are coming close to the end of one of the biggest transfer sagas of the summer; Mourinho will be relieved to have finally landed one of his top targets, but will surely be frustrated that it took so long, and also that it appears increasingly likely as if there will be only one major incoming transfer before Thursday’s deadline.