Arsenal missing a trick with Vertonghen

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The transfer saga surrounding Jan Vertonghen is a curious one.

One of European football’s most wanted defenders, the Ajax skipper has been heavily linked with a move to England on a number of occasions in the past.

Arsenal have always been in contention to land the Belgian, and with international colleague Thomas Vermaelen on the books at the Emirates Stadium, the components appeared to be in place for the north London outfit to sweeten a possible deal.

However, it appears their rivals down the road are in pole position to land the 25-year-old, despite the dice not rolling in Spurs’ favour over the last few days.

Harry Redknapp does not have Champions League football to offer the former Waalwijk loanee, a usually decisive factor when it comes to luring the best players on offer in the transfer window.

That fact also means that the Gunners would be able to offer better wages than their rivals, who showed signs of brilliance in the Premier League last season but ultimately finished fourth.

It left the door open for Chelsea, providing they could do the unthinkable against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final at the Allianz Arena, and sure enough that final spot for an English club in Europe’s premier club competition was snatched away from White Hart Lane.

It doesn’t appear to have put Vertonghen off a possible move though, with reports in Holland claiming that he’s only willing to talk to Tottenham over a switch.

A figure in the region of £10 million is being muted, as the two parties look to negotiate a deal for a player who only has one-year left to run on his contract at the Amsterdam Arena.

Providing Daniel Levy can get the job done, Spurs will have a serious player on their hands for next season.

And, if Vertonghen does end up in a Spurs shirt next season, Arsenal fans will rightfully be scratching their heads as to just how or why this one got away from them.

True, the form of Laurent Koscielny was a major positive in the later stages of the season, but does Arsene Wenger really believe that his club is well set at the centre back position.

With the pressure on after a disastrous start last term, the Frenchman made his move to bring Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen to the capital. However, the centre back’s inconsistency has left question marks over the long-term impact he could have for the club.

Injuries to Vermaelen have left the Gunners in the lurch in the past as well, and a defensive fragility has been exposed on countless occasions over the past few years. Rivals have constantly capitalised.

With that in mind, the 2011/12 Eredivisie Player of the Year would seem like the perfect signing for next season. With no silverware in the past seven years, the crowds are starting to get restless.

Vertonghen’s signing would certainly be a step in the right direction, with Arsenal looking to somehow close a 19-point gap on Manchester City and Manchester United next term.

Conceding fewer goals would be a good place to start, after 49 were shipped in last season. That compares with 29 from City and 33 from United. How much higher they might have finished with a similar defensive record is up for debate.

As it is, all signs point to the defender’s arrival at Tottenham, having taken in the sights on the final day of the season and liking what he saw again Fulham.

Arsenal’s loss will certainly be Spurs gain – providing they can pull this transfer off.

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