Inside Lane: Why Vertonghen signing is vital to Spurs’ image

11:57 28 May 2012

Jan Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen


Tottenham supporter Daniel Grigg underlines the importance of completing the protacted move for Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen

I’ve always been a supporter of the way Daniel Levy runs things at Tottenham, and the club that his style of chairmanship has created.

Unlike other outfits near the top of English football, he has never really allowed the players’ weekly wages - or their egos - to get drastically inflated.

Levy also did well to negotiate the tricky pitfalls which came with all the positives of Champions League qualification in 2010, and has continued to watch the pennies despite the continued rise of the Premier League.

I even like the way Spurs have largely steered clear of those established and obvious names who demand the big-money wages that we simply cannot afford.

Instead, we focus on spotting, attracting and building strong bonds with the talents who continue to come through from many of the poorer clubs - both domestically and abroad.

Strong bonds like the one Levy seems to have built with the Belgian centre-back Jan Vertonghen, who continues to speak of his desire to join Tottenham above any other club.

Vertonghen will be expensive, given that he is entering the final year of his contract - but who cares.

Signings like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale also had their costs, but their impact on the club’s progression were enormous - and not just for what they brought individually on the field. Picking up talent when it’s been available, especially when it’s been undervalued by other teams, has been key to Spurs’ success.

On-lookers questioned us for spending £16.5million on Modric, given his lack of size and limited experience outside of Croatian football, and queried whether he’d really flourish in the Premier League.

Bale’s original fee wasn’t inconsiderable either for a 17-year-old left-back with a somewhat concerning injury record in his youth days at Southampton.

But I have to say that, even at that time, I was nothing short of delighted to have beaten Newcastle to Modric’s signature, and Manchester United’s to Bale’s.

Those signings, when combined with a few others, have fundamentally altered and shifted the whole image of Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League era, giving the team a real injection of quality.

Spurs used to be another perennially mid-table club with great history and prestige who could occasionally tempt a David Ginola or a Jurgen Klinsmann with their attractive brand of football but little else.

Now they have been transformed into a club which can attract some of the most talented young players from across Europe and even Brazil - players who see Tottenham as a club where they can make their mark up near the top of what has become the most marketable league in world football, surrounded by other hungry, like-minded players.

Signing Jan Vertonghen (if it happens) would certainly continue to foster that image, which is vital if Spurs want to keep portraying - both to their transfer targets and fans - the young, ambitious image of their Champions League run, rather than the penny-pinching picture of recent transfer windows.

Money, as important as it always is in football, pales into insignificance against the ignominy and damage to both morale and belief that would result from the failure to now complete this long-protracted move for Vertonghen, after coming so close and putting in so much effort. The fans really need a boost after the heartbreak and awful frustration of last season.

Whatever it costs, it doesn’t matter. Solving the problem of who to play alongside Younes Kaboul in defence - and doing so with a player that the likes of Arsenal and AC Milan were all thought to have coveted recently - would provide a real lift.

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