Noel Whelan has suggested that Stefan de Vrij could be a good defensive partner for Cristian Romero at Tottenham and hinted the pair could emulate the careers of Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at the North London club.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte has reportedly started to draft out a list of player requests ahead of the January transfer window, and a link-up with the Inter Milan centre-back is allegedly on the cards.
The Italian has already given the side a shake-up in terms of reshaping the defence, using the likes of Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies in a back-three with wing-backs.
Spurs have looked more solid defensively since Conte’s arrival, however, it has been claimed the former Chelsea boss is looking to bolster his options, with De Vrij a prime target in the winter.
Former West Ham striker Whelan believes the Dutchman could be the perfect addition to Spurs’ squad and believes the Inter man can form a ‘rugged’ partnership with Argentina international Romero.
He also suggested the potential pairing could match the level achieved by former defenders Vertonghen and Alderweireld, who were rocks at the back for season after season at Tottenham.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “[Stefan] De Vrij and Cristian Romero could become Spurs legends like Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
“Alderweireld and Vertonghen are two legends of the club; they were solid at the back. They were a formidable partnership, and that’s what you need.
“When you think about these famous partnerships throughout the years, Man United had Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Arsenal had Tony Adams and Martin Keown. They stick in the mind because they were solid, good defenders.
“And that’s what Spurs need to find. They need that partnership to be rugged at the back, bordering on horrible.
“De Vrij has shown he is a world-beater playing at a very high level.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Teams that are successful typically do have at least two excellent defenders that play together regularly, and Spurs almost achieved greatness with Vertonghen and Alderweireld.
Romero has the ability to be world-class and De Vrij is obviously a good option to partner him, but we need to remember that Conte is likely looking to build into a back-three going forward.
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