Former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal believes that the Eredivisie champions should try and bring Jan Vertonghen back to the Johan Cruyff Arena this summer.
Vertonghen’s contract with Spurs runs out this summer and the defender is expected to leave North London after eight years at the club (Football Insider).
Before the Belgian joined Tottenham in 2012, he spent nine years at Ajax. He spent three years at the club’s famous academy before breaking into the first-team in 2006.
Van Gaal, who was the manager at Ajax when the Spurs defender was coming through the ranks, was asked about the development of Vertonghen and former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen and which surprised him the most.
He told Het Nieuwsblad (as relayed by Sport Witness): “Vertonghen. I liked Vermaelen early on. I wanted him later, at Manchester United. Vertonghen became a starter at Tottenham – unlike Vermaelen who did not make it at Barcelona – even though he was not always in his best position.
“Vertonghen is a left central defender. He can never be a left back, because he is too slow for that. He has a good tactical insight, a good eye for orientation.”
Vertonghen has primarily been linked with a move to the Serie A over the past few weeks with the likes of Inter Milan (Gazzetta dello Sport via Sport Witness), Roma and Napoli (Gazzetta dello Sport via TEAMtalk) all said to be interested in his services.
However, Van Gaal wants to see Ajax try and bring the 33-year-old back to his old stomping ground.
When asked if the Dutch giants should make a move for the Spurs man, Van Gaal said: “I am against bringing players back. When Frank Rijkaard returned to Ajax, I had trouble with that.
“And that eventually became a golden purchase. I would dare to do it with Vertonghen. He has the level tactically and technically.
“And like the time he was substituted at Tottenham (in tears at his replacement against Southampton), that affected me so much. That really touched me.
“When you deal with your profession as a player, you have to be a good person. And then there is a good chance that you want to take revenge from that disappointment.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Free agents are going to be in extremely high demand this summer. So, I can certainly see a Spanish or an Italian club offering Vertonghen big wages to sign and I don’t think Ajax can compete financially.
I would personally rather see the Belgian handed the two-year extension that he wants if we are going to sign a temporary stop-gap like Chris Smalling rather than a top defender like Upamecano.
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