Jan Vertonghen has opened up on the circumstances surrounding his exit from Tottenham in the summer, admitting that Benfica’s willingness to offer him a three-year contract was a major factor in him deciding to sign for the Portuguese giants.
Vertonghen spent eight years in North London after moving to Tottenham from Ajax in the summer of 2012 and the centre-back was a big part of Mauricio Pochettino’s revolution, helping to lift the Lilywhites to new heights both domestically and in Europe.
However, the central defender admitted that he knew his time at Spurs was up last season and that he was seeking a new challenge away from the Premier League.
He said in an interview to Belgium outlet Sporza: “We started talking about my contract with Tottenham a year and a half ago.
“I quickly realized that I didn’t want to stay in the Premier League. We wanted to go south: Spain, southern Italy, but Sophie immediately spoke about Lisbon.
“In January there was not much interest and then I got a bit nervous. I was definitely not doing my best season and then there was the lockdown. The European Championship was canceled, my contract expired and I was actually unemployed.”
The defender, who is affectionately known as ‘Super Jan’ by the Spurs faithful, admitted that the three-year contract offer from Benfica was a major vote of confidence in his ability and expressed his desire to win silverware with the Primeira Liga club.
When asked about Benfica’s approach, Vertonghen said: “I was on a boat in Amsterdam when my manager called with Benfica’s interest. I called and immediately got a good feeling. Benfica wanted to give me a 3-year contract at my age and after a lesser season.”
“I found that such a token of confidence and recognition. A contract for 3 years put me at ease and I wanted stability. Benfica is a great club with a beautiful stadium, a rich history and a good youth academy, Ajax of Portugal. This is the best thing that could happen to me: 3 years contract with a club that has ambition in Europe and in a beautiful city. ”
“Never say never, but this is my last destination. In 3 years I will be 36, that is a blessed age for a football player. I really have to do everything I can to appear on the field normally, that demands a lot from you. Maybe I will add another year, but it is 99% certain that I will end here.
“I played at Tottenham for 8 years, but I didn’t win many prizes. Here I play for the prizes.”
Spurs Web Opinion
For the amazing servant that Vertonghen was for Spurs and for all the brilliant teams he was part of during his time at the club, it is a shame that he does not have any silverware to show for it. I am sure we at Spurs Web speak for all Tottenham fans around the world when we wish the central defender goes on to win multiple titles during his time in Portugal.
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