Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Must Steal Jan Vertonghen from Tottenham

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2012

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 02:  Jan Vertonghen of Ajax in action during the Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and VVV Venlo at Amsterdam Arena on May 2, 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

After talks with first-choice Tottenham have begun to break down, Arsenal must do all they can to ensure Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen's arrival in North London. 

Vertonghen made it clear Friday that Tottenham is his destination of choice, but he indicated soon after that he would try to seal the deal with Arsenal if Spurs keep their offer of £9.6 million despite Ajax requesting £12 million for the Belgian footballer.

"I’ve said repeatedly that Tottenham are my first choice, but the talks haven’t progressed. They have shown me around, I have met all their key people and their chairman came to meet me on Monday.

But Arsenal want me too. They remain a possibility if my Spurs move falls through, as Ajax are asking £12m for me."

Arsenal had an off year defensively in the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the league, they were eighth in goals allowed for the season with 49, less than teams with mediocre seasons like Sunderland and Everton

The Gunners simply can't rely on Robin van Persie to score 30 goals every year in order to have a decent season. If they want to reach Manchester United's and Manchester City's status as dominant EPL teams, offense clearly isn't what needs to be improved.

Arsenal's front line on defense seems solid, but they greatly lack an invaluable asset called depth. Thomas Vermaelen added an impressive scoring touch defensively this season and Bacary Sagna has solidified himself as a dominant right back, but they could use a long-term solution like Vertonghen. 

He boasts a unique attacking ability and could fill in on the left side to catapult Arsenal from one of the weaker EPL teams defensively to a daunting force. 

Not to mention Tottenham joins Chelsea as Arsenal's most evenly-matched opponents in the Premier League, making the acquisition of Vertonghen a big bragging right heading into next season and could turn the balance of power in the league's second tier. 

Arsenal is still recovering from losing Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last year, and they continue to struggle with Van Persie's contract situation. Adding Vertonghen would take much of the focus off of the past and toward the future.