Jan Vertonghen playing a part that doesn’t belong to him at Tottenham 3

jan-vertonghen131

Tottenham fans will be familiar with this pattern: player arrives at the club, performs well, pledges false loyalty to the badge, and then angles for a move to a Champions League side.

It’s a reliable as the sun rising in the morning and the laws of gravity - in fact, it’s not really Summer without Spurs clinging to a player who feels he has outgrown the club.

This year, it’s fallen on Jan Vertonghen to be ‘that guy’ and up until now he’s played the part very convincingly.  He’s already made the ambiguous ‘we’ll see after the World Cup’ comments regarding his future, his agent has clearly briefed the press about his ambitions, and…well then he said this (via F365):

“I’ve got a couple more years at Tottenham and I’m happy, and I want to stay there, so it doesn’t matter who the manager will be.

“He (de Boer) is a good manager but there are other good managers as well so, again, the chairman will make a good decision.”

That’s a response to the suggestion that he’s waiting to see who the new Spurs manager is before deciding upon his future and it seems to be a departure from the ‘force a move’ narrative.  Beware though, a bit of Googling and you will probably find exactly the same comments attributed to Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Dimitar Berbatov.   It’s all in the game.

The problem with Vertonghen is not that he wants to leave, it’s that he has taken absolutely no ownership of his performances this season.  He talks as if he’s an asset which Tottenham would struggle to be without, whereas in reality the second half of his campaign was a disaster - he was an embarrassment to his natural ability.  That’s not hyperbole, either, because any Spurs fan will be able to name at least three or four inexplicable errors he made in 2014 which led to goals and many other examples of Hugo Lloris covering for the Belgian’s sloppiness.

This is not Modric or Bale, this is a player who should be more concerned with keeping his place at White Hart Lane than engineering a move away from it.

I’ve said this before, but - good player though he is on-form - Spurs should be actively trying to sell Jan Vertonghen.  If after less than two years at the club his head has already be turned, he can’t be trusted as a regular part of the side - this season his focus evidently shifted to the transfer-window in around December, and his form plummeted soon after.

Tottenham need players who actually want to play for Tottenham, not those who believe they’re doing the club a favour by staying.  Vertonghen shouldn’t flatter himself: he has not been good enough this year to cast himself in a transfer saga.

Follow @premleagueowl

Latest article for Squawka: Time for Chelsea to make the Petr Cech/Thibaut Courtois decision