London: Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday signed Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid -- setting up a potential legal battle with Premier League rivals Southampton.
The London club are reported to have paid 10.4 million pounds (14.5 million euros) for the 26-year-old international who made a reputation for himself during a one-year loan at Southampton.
Southampton had an option to buy Alderweireld but Atletico could pay £1.5 million to cancel that agreement. Southampton say the Spanish side did not do so on time and so they should have been allowed to sign the player Alderweireld.
But Tottenham said Alderweireld has signed a contract until 2020 and showed pictures of the player in a Spurs shirt on their website.
Alderweireld said on Twitter that he was "very excited" to move to Spurs, while also thanking Southampton who he called a "great club".
"I`m very proud to become a Spurs player," he said on the Spurs website.
"I`m very happy to be here and I hope to have a wonderful time with this team. From the beginning I knew a lot about it (the club) from Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli.
"It`s a big club and it`s always been a dream to play at a club like Spurs. Now that dream is coming true so I`m very happy, very proud and I will give my best."
Alderweireld has played 47 times for Belgium and will link up with countryman and former Ajax team-mate Vertonghen as well as Belgium international team-mates Chadli and Dembele at White Hart Lane.
Southampton did not immediately react to the announcement.
Spurs have also been linked with a move for Everton midfielder James McCarthy and Everton are in competition with Newcastle for potential replacement, Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum.
Newcastle have been in talks for several weeks with PSV Eindhoven over the highly-rated midfielder. Everton have also shown an interest.
Manchester United are on the verge of signing Torino defender Matteo Darmian, 25, according to Italian media.
Sky Italia said Torino have accepted an initial fee of 18 million euros which could rise to 20 million euros.