Manchester United’s ever-broadening search for defensive reinforcements has swallowed up Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen, with the Belgian becoming the latest centre-back linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Contract squabbles and a loss of form have culminated in Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino dropping the 27-year-old to the bench at various points of the campaign and it’s reported in the Mirror that he’s unsettled at White Hart Lane.
Louis van Gaal is a known admirer of Vertonghen – who is 5/1 to join Man Utd before September 2nd 2015 – from his Ajax days and is apparently unmoved by the Lilywhites’ £18m price tag.
With plenty of holes to patch up at the back, here’s why the Red Devils would be right to make the Tottenham stopper their number one transfer target.
His versatility will prove very useful to a United rearguard that’s a shade under-staffed at present.
A seasoned practitioner at both centre and left-back, Vertonghen has experience of sampling both positions at domestic, continental and international level.
When incumbent number three Luke Shaw was injured earlier in the campaign, Van Gaal was forced to deploy lightweight winger Ashley Young in a defensive capacity so acquiring further cover has to be high on the priority list, especially since Marcos Rojo was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.
Picking up a centre-half by trade who moonlights at left-back is the perfect solution so as not hinder Shaw’s opportunities in the first-team.
Spurs’ improved form with Vertonghen in the team is testament to his quality.
Their season so far is a couple of losses away from being a dubbed a full-blown disaster, but the north Londoners rarely lose when they pitch their premier centre-back in from the off.
The Lilywhites have managed to win just once this season without the Belgian’s services, as opposed to prevailing eight times with him in the team and losing just twice.
He’d inject some much-needed seniority into a relatively young Man Utd backline.
At 27, Vertonghen is no veteran, yet he’s got light years of experience on the likes of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, who, while obviously very talented, have only been selected this season on account of emergency circumstances.
With 322 appearances in the Premier League, Eredivisie (which he’s won twice), Champions League and Europa League to his name, as well as 62 caps for the Rode Duivels, including five at the World Cup, there’s not a lot he hasn’t done.