Vertonghen joined Spurs from Ajax this summer and has gone on to become a fans' favourite after a series of excellent displays for Andre Villas-Boas' team. The Belgian started his White Hart Lane career as a centre-back but soon moved over to left-back - the position he plays in for his country - after an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
"(Arsenal's interest) was concrete, but they wanted me to be a controller in the midfield, an Emmanuel Petit-type," Vertonghen told Dutch website NUsport. "I'm not afraid of competition, but the overall picture of Spurs appealed to me more."
With Assou-Ekotto now back in full training following his three-month layoff, Vertonghen looks set to return to the heart of the defence, much to his delight.
He added: "Ultimately, I just came to play at centre back.
"Gareth Bale had to play left back, but it did not work so he pushed forward and I moved to full-back. I see myself still as a centre-back. I'm not agile enough to play against players like Nani and (Raheem) Sterling."
Villas-Boas, meanwhile, says any new recruits he adds in January must subscribe to his and Tottenham's attacking philosophy.
Speaking in a question and answer session on Twitter, the Portuguese, who has been linked with moves for Joao Moutinho, Fernando Llorente and Willian, said: "The players we are trying to bring in and have here also embrace that philosophy which we want to carry into the future.
"(Being at Spurs) is great because of the philosophy of the club want to implement, what I think about football and the way we should play. I think we should have a go, play well and be open."