Arsenal set to steal Vertonghen from under Spurs' noses
Published 22:29 10/03/12 By Steve Stammers
Arsenal are on the brink of snatching Ajax ace Jan Vertonghen from Tottenham’s clutches.
Newcastle and Spurs have been trailing the Belgium international centre-back all season with Spurs emerging as hot favourites to clinch a £10million summer deal.
But Vertonghen made a secret visit to London last Tuesday and was at the Emirates to watch Arsenal’s thrilling 3-0 Champions League win over AC Milan.
Vertonghen met up with his close friend and international team-mate Thomas Vermaelen, now back from injury and playing for the Gunners.
He told Vermaelen he was massively impressed by the football Arsenal produced.
Vertonghen has just one year remaining on his Ajax contract. That’s why he will be prised out of the Dutch club for a reasonable fee.
Last summer Ajax blocked Vertonghen’s projected exit by slapping a £20m price tag on his head.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer said: “Jan won’t go anywhere for less than that figure.”
Ajax know their asking price is tumbling and will not want him to wait to become a free agent in June 2013.
Vertonghen has refused to sign a new contract with Ajax. He said: “I am ready for a move abroad now. I have played at Ajax for almost six years in the first team and I think it is time to make another step in my career,’’
Joining Vermaelen at Arsenal would be the most logical move. Vertonghen moved to Ajax from Belgian side Germinal Beerschot with Vermaelen when the duo were teenagers.
In 2008 they formed a partnership in the centre of defence at Ajax and had one of their most succesful seasons.
Vertonghen is a versatile player. He can play left back, central defender and as a holding midfielder.
He is a ruthless player with iron discipline. In 2010 he caused a storm in Dutch football during a Dutch cup match when Ajax played Cambuur.
When the ball went out for an injured player, Vertonghen received the ball in his own half and shot from 60 yards into the top corner of the Cambuur goal.
Ajax went through but later decided to give up their place as an apology for Vertonghen’s behaviour.
Vertonghen says the board of Ajax have not tried hard to give him a new mega deal. “They have said they want to sit down and talk about a new deal, but I think they realise that I could be leaving anyway. And I do think that a nice move is on the way for me.”
Spurs still hope they can convince the player to move to White Hart Lane.