December 6 2013 Latest news:
Friday, December 14, 2012
Jan Vertonghen turned down a move to Arsenal after hearing that Arsene Wenger wanted to deploy him in midfield, the Tottenham player has revealed.
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.
Gunners manager Wenger, who is under pressure after Arsenal’s poor start to the campaign, was interested in signing Vertonghen, but the 25-year-old instead opted to move to the Gunners’ north London rivals after it became clear that the Frenchman wanted him to play in midfield.
“[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.”
Spurs manager Villas-Boas initially moved Gareth Bale to left-back following Assou-Ekotto’s injury, but Vertonghen has been a more effective solution during the Cameroonian’s absence.
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.”