Ajax defender and captain Jan Vertonghen has expressed his admiration for the Gunners and would be keen to link up with fellow international team mate and friend Thomas Vermaelen this summer at Arsenal.
The highly-rated Belgian is hot property at the moment with his contract expiring next year, with Ajax likely to be demanding a reasonable £10million fee for their star defender.
Spurs, Manchester United and Newcastle are all linked with the versatile 24-year-old but it seems that Arsenal are high on his preferential list of clubs he would like to join this summer, he told the Daily Mirror:
Arsenal are a magnificent club and I hear a lot of good things about English football. If a club of Arsenal’s calibre can reach an agreement with Ajax, then I will gladly go over.
I have instructed my agent carefully.
He knows which clubs I want to join, and Arsenal are one of them.
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I haven’t signed anything with them yet.
But I went to watch them against Milan, together with my Ajax team-mate Siem de Jong, after [Thomas] Vermaelen invited us.
Vertonghen will be a sensational addition to the squad, but will it happen? Wenger already has three top class central defenders at the club in Koscielny, Vermaelen and Mertesacker, not to mention Djourou, youngster Miquel and Kyle Bartley coming into the fold. He is a versatile defender that can play out wide and in the midfield but the Gunners have two senior left back’s and three defensive midfielders already in Song, Frimpong and Coquelin.
I would love to see the Belgian international head to the Emirates but I can’t see it happening with Wenger likely to give more responsibility and playing time to Miquel next season, otherwise the talented Spaniard will head for the exit door if he isn’t given more opportunities. And the likelihood of Djourou being sold is slim as the Swiss international recently signed a new contract, so there is little chance of Vertonghen heading to the Emirates next season I have to say.
Meanwhile, The Mirror are also linking England U21 and Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland to the Gunners who are on the lookout for fresh talent between the sticks with Manuel Almunia and Lukaz Fabianksi likely to leave this summer.
The 19-year-old – currently on loan at Cheltenham – was linked with a move to the Emirates last year after receiving positive reviews from Arsenal’s chief scouting team.
Despite not featuring for the Birmingham first team yet, Butland has represented England at every level up to Under-21 level, and has been tipped for a big future between the sticks.
The Mirror suggested that Birmingham are in urgent need of an injection of cash that could come their way from Arsenal if they pay the reported £1million down payment that could potentially rise to £5m depending on appearances.
Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal’s new number one which has placed Fabianski’s future at the club in major doubt with the Poland second choice now in the shadows of Szczesny’s metoric rise to stardom for club and country.
Manuel Almunia will certainly be sold this summer too, leaving just Vito Mannone to provide cover for the sensational Szczesny, but apparently Butland will provide able cover and competition to the Arsenal goalkeeping hierarchy.
Butland seems like a great investment, and Arsenal is a great place for the youngster to develop as Wenger’s youth policy will provide the England U21 keeper with opportunities for top class football. But this will depend of whether Fabianski is sold or not, so only time will tell..