Long term Newcastle United target Jan Vertonghen has confirmed that he wants to leave Ajax and will not sign a new deal at the club.
The 24-year-old Belgian international has said that he will miss Ajax but is looking to move to a Premier League club, which will prick the ears of a few clubs, including Newcastle.
The defender is rated at £10m but with only 16 months left on his current deal there may well be some scope to do a deal and pick him up a little bit cheaper, that’s if Newcastle are still interested of course! Mind you there have been various reports of NUFC representatives keeping tabs on Vertonghen over the last few months so I think it’s safe to say there is till an interest on our part.
“I am still under contract until June 2013, but I do not intend to extend it,” said Vertonghen.
“I hope to continue my career at a good Premier League club where I can stay for many seasons. I will miss Ajax and I do not plan to sell my house. But I want to get to know England and the unique atmosphere of its stadia.”
The thing is, do really need a centre-back as ‘high profile’ as Vertonghen now that Fabricio Coloccini has agreed a new deal with the club?
The obvious answer is yes as we should be looking to strengthen, but if you look a bit deeper then there are questions that can be raised about the viability of it.
The first one is playing time. Will Vertonghen be happy to sit on the bench? Or will Steven Taylor be happy to sit on the bench if a player like Vertonghen takes his place? Would they then become unhappy and look at getting first-team football elsewhere thus leaving us in the same position that we started in?
Personally I think the kind of defender we bring in over the summer will depend on our league position and, ultimately, whether or not we qualify for Europe. If we do manage to grab a Europa League spot then we’ll need that strength in depth. There will be more games to go round, plus there will be more injuries picked up, or at least there will be a chance of more injuries being picked up!
At the end of the day, we need strength in depth, but we also need to be able to keep players happy by giving them the regular playing time they will be after. This is all well and good, but there is also a risk of there being a knock-on effect on the players we have already.
Overall I’m still in the sign Vertonghen camp, or sign another highly rated defender if it isn’t to be Vertonghen. Why not strengthen from a position of relative strength rather than face a dilemma similar to what we are going through now again?
Your thoughts please.