Barcelona Transfer News: Jan Vertonghen Interest Deterred by Tottenham

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02:  Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City at White Hart Lane on March 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Tottenham "will staunchly resist" any approach for versatile defender Jan Vertonghen this summer, a mindset that aims to deter the reported interest of Barcelona and other European clubs, according to Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports.

Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard believes the Blaugrana are willing to pay £17.5 million for the 27-year-old's services but insists Spurs "are not willing to lose the centre-half" during a transitional time for the club.

As noted in Johnson's report, Spurs are reportedly set to offer Vertonghen a new deal worth £60,000 per week to stop any interest before a concrete bid is lodged.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 05:  Lucas Biglia of Argentina and Jan Vertonghen of Belgium compete for the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Argentina and Belgium at Estadio Nacional on July 5, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Ph
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Thomas believes new White Hart Lane boss Mauricio Pochettino sees Vertonghen as "fundamental" to his plans in North London. Vertonghen endured a mixed 2013-14 season, appearing just 23 times in a spell of fluctuating form and injuries, as Spurs collectively suffered during the post-Gareth Bale era.

However, Vertonghen impressed at the World Cup with Belgium. Belgium manager Marc Wilmots deployed the ball-playing defender in an left-back role that allowed the former Ajax man to express himself.

This position is considered Vertonghen's weakness by some Spurs fans, but the ambitious star showed himself to be disciplined, effective on the break and solid at the back when supported by the likes of Vincent Kompany and Daniel van Buyten. Vertonghen's winner against South Korea also underlines an individual who is a real goalscoring threat when he heads into the box.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  Jan Vertonghen of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Belgium at Arena de Sao Paulo on June 26, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Ma
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Barca's interest was potentially galvanised after Mustapha Nakhli, the player's agent, name-dropped the Catalan side when discussing Vertonghen's future. Nakhli spoke to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, (as reported by Tom Sheen of the Independent): "Several teams are interested in Jan. I cannot confirm or deny whether Barcelona are one of them."

Luis Enrique must certainly uncover new defensive talent after the retirement of Carles Puyol. Gerard Pique has rarely produced his best form over the past couple of years and needs a defensive partner who flaunts decent pace to get him out of trouble. Similarly, Jordi Alba's once consistently penetrative attacks have died off somewhat from left-back, meaning competition is needed.

One of Barcelona's great downfalls during last season was the squad's comfortable nature. Many of the first-team regulars appeared to lessen their intensity due to a lack of competition in their position. Players such as Vertonghen—who naturally assert their battling nature—can liven things up.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 21: Luis Enrique Martinez poses for the media during his official presentation as the new coach of FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on May 21, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

That's exactly what Enrique has already achieved with the signings of Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez. These are not typical transfers for modern Barca—the former, especially—but they possess the instinct to hassle and challenge for each ball. Vertonghen is much the same and can bring a fighting spirit to the Camp Nou's back four.