It has begun.
Jan Vertonghen’s agent has twice met AS Roma officials in Italy – at the Savoy Hotel in Florence, no less – to discuss a move to the Stadio Olimpico this summer, according to Italian source Tuttomercato.
The Belgian defender is reportedly very interested in the move and Roma currently lead the chase for Vertonghen’s signature, although Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit St. Petersburg are also keen on the player.
Vertonghen admitted in February that he may have ‘a decision to make’ if we fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, an almost certain eventuality with three league games remaining.
Roma, meanwhile, have already secured their participation in next season’s tournament and Zenit look certain to join them.
Last summer, Vertonghen was regarded as one of our best players but the Belgium international has been disappointing this term, albeit unlucky with injuries and no worse than any of our other centre halves.
But at his best, the 26-year-old is one of the classiest defenders in Europe and, on paper at least, our best centre half and our best left as things stand.
Vertonghen signed a four-year deal when he arrived from Ajax in summer 2012 but the club have an option to add an extra year, and the Telegraph say we want Vertonghen to sign a new contract and are willing to significantly increase his £40,000-a-week wages.
Daniel Levy would no doubt demand top whack for Vertonghen and it’s not inconceivable to imagine the chairman extracting £25m plus from Roma or another for the defender (who cost just £9.5m).
But as last summer proved, it’s usually better to tie down existing stars to bumper new contracts than splash out on shiny new players, who may or may not settle and/or fulfil their potential.
Under a new manager and alongside the fit-again Younes Kaboul or Vlad Chiriches, Vertonghen can still be a huge asset to Spurs and the club should look to persuade him to stay for at least one more season rather than cash-in.
Image via @SpursFinest.