Sunday 25 February 2018

Tottenham's new arrival Vertonghen insists he can make impact

Matt Somerford

Jan Vertonghen is confident he can make an immediate impact in the Premier League after agreeing terms to join Tottenham yesterday.

The Ajax skipper will undergo a medical this week before completing his protracted move from the Dutch champions.

Spurs had been tracking the Belgium defender since last season during which he won the Eredivisie player-of-the-season award as Ajax claimed back-to-back league titles.

Vertonghen's move had, however, been delayed amid reported interest from Arsenal while Spurs also changed managers with Andre Villas-Boas last week appointed to replace Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp was reportedly a keen admirer of the 25-year-old who, after proving his class in Holland, is determined to make the step up in the Premier League. "I am very relieved," he said. "It went on for a long time, but I'm glad I'm a Tottenham player right now and I'm looking forward to playing for the club.

"I am 25 years old now and I feel ready to play in the Premier League. I have heard a lot of good stories from my Belgium team-mates. I think I'm ready. I heard that Harry Redknapp really wanted me to play for Tottenham, but now it's Andre Villas-Boas. To me, that doesn't matter."

Departures

Vertonghen will bolster a Spurs central defence that has been weakened over the summer after the departures of former captain Ledley King and Ryan Nelsen. He is the second signing of Villas-Boas' short tenure so far after Gylfi Sigurdsson agreed a move to White Hart Lane last week.

Those signings have offered hope Spurs can at least maintain, if not improve, on their fourth placing in the Premier League last term. But perhaps even more important on new man Villas-Boas' list of priorities will be retaining his already-established star names.

Star winger Gareth Bale pledged his future to the club last month after signing a long-term deal but Luka Modric's future remains in some doubt for a second successive summer. "They have a lot of good players and I hope the most important players will stay, but that's my opinion, I'm not one of the directors," Vertonghen said. "I hope the players will stay and we have a good team next season."

Spurs announced they had agreed terms to sign Vertonghen from Ajax yesterday morning. "We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Ajax for the transfer of Jan Vertonghen, subject to a medical," the statement read.

"The 2011/12 campaign was the Belgium international's most successful season to date -- being named Ajax captain at the start and going on to lead the Dutch side to their second straight league title."

Irish Independent

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