Arsenal look to Belgian bond in pursuit of £17m defender

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Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen has starred in the meanest defence in the Eredivisie this season, with his fine form attracting the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

TalkSPORT report that Arsenal are lining up a summer swoop for the 23-year-old Belgian after revelations in the Dutch media suggest that Ajax will be forced to sell their leading stars if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.

The versatile defender has been consistently linked with a move to England and has now revealed he will think about leaving in order to enhance his career.

"In January, the departure was never an option," he said, according to MilanNews. "But in the summer I might consider leaving for the first time."


AC Milan and Barcelona are also rumoured to be interested in Vertonghen who has been valued at £17million by the Amsterdam outfit along with fellow defender Gregory Van Der Wiel who has himself been linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is said to be keen on Vertonghen and is hopeful that the chance to link up with international team-mate Thomas Vermaelen at the Emirates Stadium will put Arsenal in the driving seat for the player’s signature.

Vermaelen was also at Ajax when he caught Arsenal's eye - moving to North London for £8 million in 2009 - and Vertonghen looks like he may follow suit.

The two centre-backs have a good relationship both on and off the field, and it is understood that Vermaelen is attempting to persuade his compatriot to join Arsenal.

"He [Vermaelen] is one of my best friends and I'm very happy he has been such a success at Arsenal. He tells me really good things about Arsenal and living in London," said Vertonghen.

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Thomas Vermaelen
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