Friday 15 December 2017

Spurs keen to tie down Belgian trio to extended contracts

Mousa Dembele
Mousa Dembele

Matt Law

Tottenham Hotspur are planning to open contract talks with Belgian trio Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli.

While Dembele's contract is due to expire in 18 months, Vertonghen and Chadli have deals that run until 2018 but Spurs are keen to secure their long-term futures. With Tottenham already in talks to hand new contracts to Harry Kane and Dele Alli, it is clear the club's focus is to hold on to their best players.

Spurs have previously cashed in on their prized assets, such as Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, but head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep this group of players together. Tottenham have gone 13 games unbeaten in the Premier League to give themselves a realistic chance of qualifying for the Champions League. Vertonghen and Dembele have been key to that run, while Chadli has also impressed.

Dembele's contract is the main priority and, even though there is no immediate rush, talks with Vertonghen and Chadli should take place in the new year with the aim of announcing new deals before the start of next season. Chadli is working towards a return to fitness in time for the Christmas schedule, having been out since mid-October with an ankle injury he suffered in the goalless draw against Liverpool.

Dembele, 28, has enjoyed a renaissance at Spurs and his displays in midfield have convinced Pochettino he is worth a new deal.

Vertonghen has also got back to his best this term alongside fellow Belgian Toby Alderweireld and the central defender is believed to be more settled at White Hart Lane.

Other than keeping the squad together for Pochettino, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is well aware that Vertonghen, Dembele and Chadli will be more valuable if they are tied to longer contracts.

However, Pochettino appears willing to let Andros Townsend leave in the January window. Townsend has not played for the first team since the 2-1 Europa League defeat by Anderlecht on October 22 and was dropped from the squad following a bust-up with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner. Pochettino praised Townsend for asking to play for the U-21s this week after being left out of the match-day squad for the draw with Chelsea, but left the door open for a move away from Spurs.

Townsend's hopes of finding a new club may, however, rest on whether Levy is willing to drop the £15m price tag he placed on him in the summer.

Pochettino said: "For me it's a very good attitude to want to play for the U-21s." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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