Jan Vertonghen—who over the course of the present season has been mentioned in the same breath as Arsenal, so much so that one thought either that he already was an Arsenal player or that any move from Ajax would definitely be to Arsenal—has announced his preference, and it isn't Arsenal. It is Arsenal's less distinguished rival and neighbor, Tottenham Hotspur.
This must sound baffling to most Gooners, who, I suppose, have no conception that anyone, but a reject of course, would prefer Spurs over Arsenal.
Although I don't hate Spurs—a strange and dangerous thing to admit as a Gooner—I must confessed that I'm still baffled whenever I see anyone wearing the white of Spurs.
Really? I'd think. A Spurs fan outside North London? But like it or not, there are Spurs fans out there, and Vertonghen is one of them—as was Dennis Bergkamp before him—if his interview with De Telegraaf is anything to go by.
"Tottenham are absolutely my favourite," said the Belgian international, whom one would have thought would be keen on joining his compatriot, Thomas Vermaelen, at Arsenal.
One possibility from all this is that Arsene Wenger's reluctance to spend that extra million pounds could be at issue here. We all know that Wenger wouldn't spend eight million were he can spend seven. Moreover, if the incentives are better at Spurs, who's to blame Vertonghen if he prefers to move there?
Or may be he thinks he'd break into the first team at Spurs faster than he would at Arsenal, not that many would think he'd find it difficult to play first-team football at Arsenal.
Another possibility could be that Vertonghen is simply pulling an Eden Hazard—you know, that other Belgian who has linked himself with every other club on planet earth, who, for all anyone knows, could be headed to Accra, Ghana, to play for Hearts of Oak if the money is right.
Eden Hazard tailored made for every club on earth. Cartoon courtesy of Goal.com.
A phone call could have introduced this trick to Vertonghen, who could be hoping that this would prompt Wenger to dig deep and produce the cash. The only caveat is that Wenger is more likely to turn away in anger and disgust than spend that extra million.
But it could be that Vertonghen is in dead earnest to play for Spurs. In that case, good luck for him. It'd make it doubly enjoyable when we beat Spurs in the derbies next season, seeing as they are now in the business of "stealing our players!"
In the mean time, Vertonghen appears really anxious to join Spurs.
The Ajax board are asking for a very big amount for a player whose contract is running out in a year. I trust that both Tottenham and Ajax will put some water in the wine and they will soon reach an agreement.
Too bad for Wenger and Arsenal who clearly lack the understanding that when it comes to transfers, water, not just wine, is absolutely necessary.