Why Tottenham should let go of veteran defender Vertonghen
According to the Telegraph, Napoli and Ajax are keeping an eye on veteran Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen.
The 32-year old, whose contract at the North London club is set to expire in the summer, is now free to talk to other clubs, with the club not having extended his deal until now.
Meanwhile, Napoli under new boss Gennaro Gattuso, are prepared to land the experienced centre-back this month after having failed to do so last summer, the report adds.
The Italian is in need of someone who could stabilise their shaky defence that has conceded 22 goals from 17 league games this season and Vertonghen has come out as one of his top priorities at the moment.
Dutch outfit Ajax are also in contention for the Belgian defender, whom they sold seven years ago to Tottenham in a £12million deal, the report claims.
A former youth player at Ajax, Vertonghen rose to prominence with his solid displays at the back for the Amsterdam-based side before making his switch to England.
Vertonghen has since then gone on to be a key player for Spurs, pushing them from being a mid-table English team to becoming one of the top clubs in Europe – the epitome of which was their Champions League run last season.
However, over the years, Vertonghen’s performances have deteriorated. The Belgian, who used to be a regular in his early years at the club, saw himself play just 22 league games after being troubled by persistent injuries.
This season too, Vertonghen was seen falling down the pecking order under former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who opted to go with Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez in the heart of the Spurs defence.
However, the appointment of new manager Jose Mourinho has once again opened the doors for Vertonghen, who, however, has been seen donning the left-back role under the Portuguese.
Vertonghen, who has featured as a left-back in his youth days is not someone new to the role.
Nevertheless, it is not his favoured position as the full-back role requires a lot of running, which is clearly not his forte at the moment, as age and injuries seem to have slowed him down.
Despite him not being in his prime anymore, Vertonghen’s vast experience and versatility have led to Mourinho opting the veteran over left-back Danny Rose and the injured Ben Davies.
And this is exactly what Napoli and Ajax will be needing from Vertonghen if Tottenham decide to sell him.
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With the left-back conundrum still existent, it is unclear if the club will be willing to offload Vertonghen. However, it would do them no good if they keep him at the club and leak goals at the back.
They have conceded 30 goals already from 21 matches, which does not fall well with a top club such as Tottenham. As he is out of contract in the summer, he is free to sign a pre-contract with any club in January.
Hence, Tottenham have a chance to sell him this month instead of losing him for free after six months. So it would be better if Tottenham just let go of Vertonghen rather than tie him any longer to a side that definitely needs some new faces in its troubled defence.