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Tottenham round-up: Spurs among best says Jan Vertonghen; confident of retaining Dele Alli; Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson on radar



Although the gap at the top of the Premier League remains at seven points despite Tottenham’s late, late comeback at Swansea, Mauricio Pochettino’s camp are remaining defiant in pushing Chelsea all the way in pursuit of the Premier League title.

That resilience, according to Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, is evidence of a precedent that has been set at White Hart Lane since Pochettino took charge, and the Belgian has sensationally claimed that the club’s newfound determination to win has firmly placed them amongst the Premier League big boys, for good.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Vertonghen claimed that Tottenham will not give up in the hunt for a first top-flight title since 1961, and the side harbours hopes that Chelsea will eventually crack under pressure, despite their victory over Manchester City on Wednesday, and he has labelled the next two rounds of fixtures potentially decisive in where the title will be heading come May.

“Chelsea are looking very strong”, he said. “We can’t stop pushing, but they had a big win and obviously the gap is still seven points. But they have a couple of big games coming up and we have to keep winning and hope they get stressed.”.

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The Belgian also highlighted the vast progress made since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival in 2014, with the Argentine having moulded the North London outfit from Europa League hopefuls into genuine title contenders, with Champions League qualification now a minimum.

“I think we have proven in the last two years what we are capable of. Before it was always Tottenham will finish fifth or sixth, but I think in the last two seasons we have proven that we belong where we are”.

Vertonghen also believes that summer signing Vincent Janssen is finally coming unto his own at Tottenham and will soon be firing on all cylinders after a tough start to life in England, having come off the bench to play a crucial role in the side’s late comeback at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday.

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 “Every team wants to attack (in Holland), they don’t really think about defending”, Vertonghen told the London Evening Standard, speaking from his personal experience in the Eredivisie with Ajax, prior to joining Spurs.

“That’s the philosophy, just play 4-3-3 and play good football in possession. That’s why I think strikers get so many chances and goals in Holland, but obviously it’s different here.

“The tactics are less naive. Swansea defended for 90 minutes but were close to beating us. But Vincent is adapting very well. He understands the way the gaffer wants him to play. He just needs that goal and then he’ll be on fire.”

Janssen didn’t get on the score-sheet on the night, but registered an assist to his name after playing in Son Heung-Min for Tottenham’s third of the night with a sublime back-heel.

“I’m happy for him”, Vertonghen continued. “Obviously it wasn’t the start he wanted but he’s showing now what he’s capable of. He made a big difference when he came on against Swansea”.

A major part of Spurs going the extra mile and winning silverware, however, will be their capacity to retain their stars, and fans will be buoyed by news that club officials believe that Dele Alli, a transfer target for Real Madrid and Manchester City, will not be moving on over the summer, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

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The former MK Dons man recently penned a new long-term deal at White Hart Lane, but speculation was increasing that it wouldn’t be sufficient to fend off bids from some of Europe’ big guns, but the club are now confident that any previous interest will fail to materialise in the form of a formal approach for the England international.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is thought to be prioritising recruitment elsewhere in his side, particularly in the defensive and goalkeeping positions, whilst the likelihood of chairman Daniel Levy sanctioning the sale of one of their star players to a direct top-four rival remains slim.

In fact, most concern at the club at present is about who may be coming in through the revolving door, rather than heading the other way. The club’s new head of recruitment Steve Hitchen is already thought to be eyeing up potential signings over the summer, with the report claiming that Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson could well be a potential target.

Having suffered from injuries across the back-line at different periods of the season, Tottenham could do with reinforcements to add depth to Pochettino’s newly preferred three-man defence, and one of the country’s brightest young defensive prospects may well be an ideal fit.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Matt Donovan.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

English Premier League

Clement Lenglet is the perfect replacement for Toby Alderweireld

The French defender has been in fine form for Sevilla.



Photo: Getty Images

When Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla last week, plenty of the La Liga side’s players put in heroic displays.

Wissam Ben Yedder, the goalscorer of both Sevilla’s goals on the night received the highest praise. However, it was defender Clement Lenglet who deserved the biggest plaudits.

The 22-year-old did a wonderful job of shackling Romelu Lukaku for most of the game, putting in a brave and assured performance at centre-back.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It was a display that undoubtedly won him some fans, and Tottenham Hotspur should be one of them.

It looks increasingly likely that Tottenham will lose Toby Alderweireld in the summer.

HLN in Belgium reported this week that Spurs have ended contract talks with the Belgian and are prepared to sell him for £43 million.

Tottenham, therefore, have a potential gap in the centre-back position.

Lenglet is the perfect option. Not only is he good enough, as he proved by United last week, but he fits the profile of a Tottenham signing.

The Sevilla defender is just 22 years of age and has years ahead of him to develop. Then, there is his release clause.

According to a recent report from Diario ASthe Frenchman has a release clause of just €30 million (£26.2 million).

Such a fee for a player of his talent and his age would amount to daylight robbery.

Lenglet, who only joined Sevilla from Nancy last summer, would be the perfect option for Spurs to replace Alderweireld.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He could rotate with fellow young talent Davinson Sanchez playing alongside the more experienced Jan Vertonghen in defence.

With a Frenchman behind him in Hugo Lloris and French speaker in Vertonghen, he would not have to worry much about the language barrier just yet.

Strong, fast, capable on the ball and a raw talent he is exactly the sort of player Mauricio Pochettino could mould into a future Tottenham star.

Alderweireld’s exit will no doubt be a shame for Tottenham.

Nonetheless, if they can bring in Lenglet for £17 million less than they sell the Belgian for, the club will have pulled off a masterstroke.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham should fear Toby Alderweireld’s potential exit

Losing the Belgian international would be a huge blow for the Lilywhites.



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Reports from Belgian outlet Het Laatse Nieuws have linked Tottenham centre-half Toby Alderweireld with a £43 million exit from Spurs this summer after the north London club reportedly gave up on contract negotiations.

The loss of the Belgian international would be a severe blow to the Tottenham defense, as well as to the image of the club.

If Spurs want to take the next step and seriously challenge for the Premier League title and advance to the latter stages of the Champions League, they must keep hold of their biggest talents.

Alderweireld has been imperious for the north London side ever since he joined from Atlético Madrid in the summer of 2015. After impressing on loan with Southampton in the 2014/15 season, the centre-half excelled at White Hart Lane.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

An integral part of the impressive Spurs teams of 2015/16 and 2016/17, Alderweireld was an ever-present in the backline. He played every single match in 2015/16 and 30 matches the following season.

And not coincidentally, these years coincided with tremendous defensive fortitude for Tottenham. In both seasons, Spurs boasted the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 35 and 26 goals respectively- a truly remarkable feat.

Yet this season, the Belgian’s involvement has been severely hindered due to a hamstring injury. Consequently, Spurs remain well off the pace for the title race and have already conceded 25 goals, almost surpassing the previous season’s total with eight matches to spare.

If the rumours of his impending departure are correct, Tottenham will suffer a major blow to their back four. Physically imposing and tactically adept, Alderweireld has been a colossus in the centre of defense for Spurs for three years now.

Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth are simply not capable replacements for the Belgian international, and a loss of Alderweireld would spell trouble for Tottenham’s title chances and European ambition in 2018/19.

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English Premier League

£43m for Toby Alderweireld would be great business for Tottenham Hotspur

It seems that the Belgian defender is definitely on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.



It seems as though Toby Alderweireld is on his way out of Tottenham Hotspur.

It is being reported by Het Laatse Nieuws today that the Belgian’s contract talks with Spurs have been halted.

With the Belgian out of contract in the summer of 2019, Spurs will attempt to cash in on Alderweireld now.

A fee of £43 million has been mentioned for the player, who reportedly wanted a wage to match that of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.

Tottenham’s stance of not paying out big wages to their top players has often been criticised. But on this occasion, the Lilywhites are doing the right thing.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

On his day and when fit, Alderweireld might be the best centre-back in the Premier League. However, it has been a long time since the Belgian had such a day.

Most of this season has seen Alderweireld on the treatment table. When he has played, it has always seemed a precursor to his next injury.

Given his age and contract situation, the injury record gives Alderweireld three strikes. At £43 million, Tottenham would be getting a fantastic deal for their defender.

The report from HLN claimed that Alderweireld wanted a wage in the region of €180,000-a-week (£160,000-a-week). Such a sum is vast for a player with his current issues.

The fact Spurs were reportedly willing to go as high as €120,000 (£105,000) per week shows that Daniel Levy tried to keep the Belgian, even doubling his current wage, but Alderweireld is on his way.

It will be a shame for Spurs but breaking the wage structure at the club for an injury prone defender would not have been a wise move.

Eventually, Tottenham might have to be more lenient with their wages, but that should be saved for the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen.

Tottenham should take £43 million for Alderweireld and persevere with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth.

Alderweireld’s next club will hope they can keep the Belgian fit long enough to reap the rewards of his potential signature.

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