Spurs to rob Vertonghen from Arsenal

Ajax defender has just one year left on his contract

Tottenham are in pole position to lure Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen to White Hart Lane, according to the Mirror.

Arsene Wenger stepped up his pursuit of versatile Belgian defender who has just one year left on his contract.

But Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is set to beat off interest from Arsenal and Chelsea for the 25-year-old defender, according to Spurs star and former Ajax star Rafael van der Vaart.

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Wenger had hoped Vertonghen will form part of a new-look defensive pool next season, with Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou available for transfers away from the Emirates this summer.

Redknapp this week admitted Vertonghen was a player he admired, though he denied having made an approach for the Belgian.

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Vertonghen lifted the Dutch league title this week, but Ajax boss Frank de Boer said after the triumph that he expects Vertonghen to leave in the summer, with Barcelona the club he would most like to see him play for.

But van der Vaart, who came through the ranks at the Amsterdam side just a few years before Vertonghen, told the Sunday People: "I hope Jan comes to Tottenham.

"As far as I know the deal is close to being done."

And the 29-year-old midfielder revealed in The Sun that the club had sought van der Vaart's advice over Vertonghen, who can play as a centre-back, a left-back or in midfield.

"Spurs asked me about him. If he’s sensible, he will opt to join us," he added.

Vertonghen is heading to Arsenal

It could be a busy summer for Arsenal as manager Arsene Wenger hints at bringing in several new players before the start of next season.

After surving a traumatic start to the season following the departures of Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas last summer, Wenger wants to go on all-out offensive to rebuild the side.

Having already shown his intent by reportedly signing Cologne striker Lukas Podolski, Wenger has been linked with Lille's attacking midfielder Eden Hazard and Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen.

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"At the moment we are so focused on finishing the season well, though, because what we have done over the past two months is exceptional," Wenger told the Metro.

That has not stopped him making initial overtures to several potential new recruits.

Hazard, also wanted by Manchester City, has emerged as one of the most sought after players in Europe after he helped Lille win the title last season.

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Ajax veteran Vertonghen could be the answer to Arsenal's fragile defence. The Belgium international is also good friends with Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, with the pair playing together at Ajax and also for their country.

Ajax manager Frank de Boer virtually confirmed that Vertonghen’s move to Arsenal next season is already a done-deal.

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“Yes we’ve already discussed it,” de Boer was reported as saying in aljazeera.com.

“When there’s a club that he’s already interested in - and it’s really got to be a good club - then he will leave. It’s 100 per cent sure.
 
“I think he’s ready to make a next step. For us, it’s a setback, of course, to miss that kind of quality player.”
 
Vertonghen, 24, has been described as an elegant and technical ball-playing central defender who can play in other positions.

 

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