The constant murmuring surrounding Jan Vertonghen’s future at Tottenham has boiled up again, with Mauricio Pochettino issuing a fresh denial that the centre-half is unhappy at the club.
Spurs’ 27-year-old defender has been the subject of near ceaseless rumour and speculation over a move away from north London during this season and the last.
Pochettino’s decision to bench the Belgian for the trip to Manchester City after starting him for the previous two Premier League games is the latest omen to get tongues wagging.
The Argentine made his latest attempt to pour cold water on the gossip when speaking to reporters ahead of the Lilywhites’ Europa League clash with Asteras Tripolis, saying:
“I know sometimes the players are affected by the rumours and comments. For me I don’t read the speculation and he’s a very good and key player for us.”
However, bwin go as short as 2/5 that Vertonghen will ply his trade elsewhere come the end of the next summer transfer window and that may be no bad thing.
After all he is a sufferer of the ‘Ex-Ajax Skipper Syndrome’ that has seen him follow in the footsteps of former Arsenal one-season wonder Thomas Vermaelen by failing to fulfil the promise of an impressive debut campaign.
That a player who looked so classy following his arrival in 2012/13 cannot consistently displace either member of the ponderous Younes Kaboul/Federico Fazio pairing, casts further aspersions on his drive.
Furthermore his slump in form has led to him assuming the role John O’Shea used to play at Manchester United, namely that of general out-of-possession factotum.
However, perhaps most damning were Tottenham’s significantly improved results when he was absent from the starting XI last season.
They won 52 per cent of games the Belgian started last season, losing 32 per cent of the time.
When he was otherwise engaged 65 per cent of Spurs’ matches ended in triumph, while only 22 per cent saw them defeated.