Jan Vertonghen: 5 Things Tottenham Hotspur's New Signing Adds to the Team

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIJuly 9, 2012

Jan Vertonghen: 5 Things Tottenham Hotspur's New Signing Adds to the Team

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    Jan Vertonghen has sealed a £9.6 million transfer to Tottenham Hotspur from Ajax, subject to a medical, according to The Independent.

    The 25-year-old centre-back has been longing for a switch to White Hart Lane and despite a dispute with Ajax over his share of the transfer fee, he is on his way out.

    The Belgium international becomes new manager Andre Villas-Boas' second summer signing after the capture of Gylfi Sigurdsson from TSG Hoffenheim.

    Spurs have done good business thus far with the acquisitions of Sigurdsson and Vertonghen, and here's what the club's latest signing will bring to the team this season.

Aerial Presence

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    If there's one thing Tottenham aren't short of it's aerial presence in their back-line.

    However, Jan Vertonghen provides a new type of domineering in the air.

    A lot of the current Spurs' defence are static jumpers who jump on the spot to achieve accuracy in the headed clearances.

    Vertonghen, on the other hand, is more dynamic, launching himself into aerial challenges to achieve power over precision, meaning he wins the majority of his aerial duels.

    Whilst Spurs aren't bad in terms of aerial duels won, a player like Vertonghen in their backline could well give them the intimidation factor of Stoke City, and the technical ability of Manchester United.


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    Possibly one of the biggest reasons Tottenham Hotspur signed Jan Vertonghen is because of his fitness.

    The centre-back is a tall, strong player with the muscular endurance to make it in the Premier League, and he appears to have the consistent energy to make countless tackles, interceptions and clearances.

    But above all, he's not injury-prone. Ledley King, Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Ryan Nelsen—four of Tottenham's five central defenders last season—all struggle with injuries.

    Vertonghen, however, does not. In the past five campaigns he's missed just 18 of Ajax's 170 league matches.

    In Transfermarkt.co.uk's injury history for Vertonghen, he was ruled out of action for a week in April 2012 due to flu and a month at the start of the season with a groin strain.

    Before that, his last injury was in March 2009—remarkable for an elite level footballer.


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    Andre Villas-Boas is one of those coaches who likes to play attacking football on the ground.

    Building up play from the back is key for Villas-Boas, and Jan Vertonghen is a player with the skill set to do exactly that.

    In Ajax's six matches in the UEFA Champions League last season, Vertonghen hit on average 85 passes per game, with an accuracy rate of 92 percent. He also hit on average seven accurate long balls each match (h/t WhoScored?).

    Such passing stats compare equally with the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Yaya Toure, etc.

    Vertonghen's passing is superior to any Tottenham defender, gives him the versatility to play defensive midfield and will be of huge benefit to Villas-Boas' game plans.

Winning Mentality

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    One of the best qualities about Jan Vertonghen is his apparent winning mentality.

    Having captained Ajax to the Eredivisie title last season, the centre-back comes across as a born winner.

    He appears to genuinely despise making mistakes, equally hates seeing his teammates committing errors and has no qualms in vividly gesticulating his disdain to stop them from happening in the future.

    The only such player Tottenham Hotspur have on their team is William Gallas, as few footballers have such confidence and that perfectionist attitude.

    If Spurs are to get back into the UEFA Champions League, such desire to win and intolerance of mistakes will be key.


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    Jan Vertonghen isn't the perfect defender. He can be overly aggressive, isn't the best tackler, can struggle against the very best forwards and appears to have a very big ego.

    However, as we've seen there are many plus points to his game, and the big bonus one is his goalscoring ability.

    Last season for Ajax, Vertonghen scored 10 goals in 42 games. That's effectively one goal every four games, a better strike rate than the £50 million Chelsea forward Fernando Torres.

    The Belgian's powerful, accurate heading and remarkable shooting ability make him a constant threat from set-pieces. 

    To put Vertonghen's goalscoring prowess into perspective, the entire Tottenham defense's goal tally combined is three goals—the club's latest signing has scored more than triple that alone.


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    Tottenham Hotspur have pulled off a transfer coup by signing Jan Vertonghen.

    The Belgian could probably walk straight into the starting lineup at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and perhaps even Manchester City and Manchester United.

    At a reported fee of £9.6 million according to the London Evening Standard, Vertonghen represents good value for money, considering at 25 he's got great experience under his belt, still has potential to get better and will add some energy to an aging Tottenham backline.

    Overall, he has all the on-pitch attributes to succeed in the Premier League.

    His only potential problem will be his relationship with his manager, Andre Villas-Boas—both are similar personalities with big egos who like to assert their authority.

    If they don't clash and can work together, this could be a move that helps Tottenham back into the Champions League.