Arsenal, Man Utd to lose Vertonghen to Spurs

Rafael van der Vaart likely to influence Belgian's decision

Harry Redknapp may yet pull a rabbit out of his hat this season by beating Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger for the signature of Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen.

Tottenham are in pole position to lure the versatile Belgian defender to White Hart Lane fending off interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, it has been reported.

Gunners were favourites to land Vertonghen who is a close pal of Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen.

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Wenger wanted to complement Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker with the signing of Vertonghen, 24, who has been described as an elegant and technical ball-playing central defender who can play in other positions.
He had been sending scouts to watch Vertonghen and was ready to complete a £7 million cut-price deal, as the player only has one year left on his contract.

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United were also tracking the centre-back who admits he has a tough decision to make.

He said: “I have to make a choice. There’s something going on with Tottenham, but there are more clubs interested in signing me.

“The most important thing for me is that I get regular playing time. Plus I need a stable environment.

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“More and more clubs in England seem to realise that you can go a long way with ‘good football’.

"Arsenal started with it, and teams like Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester City are playing good football as well now.”

But Spurs striker and former Ajax star Rafael van der Vaart is likely to influence Vertonghen's decision.

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Although Spurs have yet to make an approach for Vertonghen, Redknapp admitted this week he was an admirer of the Belgian.

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.

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"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.

Podolski agrees to join Arsenal

Cologne winger Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal for next season, the two clubs said on Monday, ending months of speculation regarding the future of one of Germany's most exciting players. 

The 26-year-old, the relegation-threatened side's leading scorer this term with 18 Bundesliga goals, has long been a target for several top European clubs and had a year left on his Cologne contract.

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An Arsenal statement said Podolski, who will join fellow Germany international Per Mertesacker at the London club, had agreed a long-term deal for an undisclosed fee.

"This transfer gives me the opportunity to play for a top European club on an international level," said Podolski, who joined Cologne as a 10-year-old and returned to the club after a hapless three years at Bayern Munich from 2006-09. 

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"I did not decide against Cologne but for a great chance regarding my own sports development," he added in a Cologne statement.

"This was not an easy decision for me at all as Cologne, our fans and the city are special to me." 

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