Published On: Fri, Aug 16th, 2019

‘It would not surprise me’ – Mauricio Pochettino tipped to sell Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen | Football | Sport

Vertonghen was a surprise absentee as the north London club opened their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 home win over Aston Villa last weekend.

The 32-year-old defender watched from the stands although Mauricio Pochettino later revealed he was not injured but rather that his exclusion from the squad was because of tactical reasons.

The Belgian international will hope to come back into the fold for tomorrow’s trip to champions Manchester City (5.30pm) with Pochettino’s squad nursing a few injuries. Ryan Sessegnon and Juan Foyth are both absent at the back.

Pochettino has confirmed that Vertonghen is fit and available for the Etihad Stadium showdown. 

“We’ll see. We still have one training session more. He’s fit and of course it’s my decision if he’s playing or not,” the Argentine coach said.

But Jenas insists he would not be surprised if the Tottenham tactician decided to offload the former Ajax centre-back, who can also play at left-back, in the next two weeks with clubs from Spain, Germany and France able to do deals until September 2 while the Italian transfer window closes on August 23.

He told BBC Sport: “It already feels like defence is not the strength it was for Tottenham a couple of years ago – they lost 13 Premier League games last season, which is a concern.

“Then you have the situation with Vertonghen being left out of the squad completely on Saturday, which was very strange. 

“Reading between the lines, it would not surprise me if he left in the next couple of weeks.

“Even if Vertonghen stays for now, he and [Toby] Alderweireld are both into the final year of their contracts, and both over 30. 

“They have been mainstays of the club for several seasons now but there is a chance neither of them will still be there this time next year.

“So, this is a process that doesn’t stop and, come January, Spurs need to have a plan.

“Otherwise they could be in a position where they need to make several signings in the same area of the team in the next summer window, which is exactly the scenario they want to avoid.”

Vertonghen has spent seven years in London, making 285 appearances to date and scoring 10 goals.

Injury problems restricted him to just 22 Premier League appearances last season, though he played in every knockout game in the Champions League as Spurs reached the final only to lose to Liverpool in Madrid.

And Jenas’ former Spurs team-mate Darren Bent believes teams would be desperate to snap up Vertonghen if he was made available for sale.

“I like Jan Vertonghen and if he’s fit, he’s got to play,” he told Football Insider. “You could see by Villa’s first goal their defensive frailties. You’d like to think if he’s fit, he’ll play.

“And I’m sure all these other big top sides, if they know someone like Jan Vertonghen’s in the market, there’s going to be no shortage of takers.

“I’d like to think if Vertonghen’s fit, he plays.”

Jermaine Jenas has joined the Daily Express as a columnist this season. You can find his first three columns here:

What Jurgen Klopp needs for Liverpool to challenge Man City this season

Harry Maguire will do well at Man Utd but they’ll pay for transfer woes 

Tottenham could lose Mauricio Pochettino but he deserves a trophy first

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