Vertonghen keen on Arsenal move

Ajax’s Belgian centre-back Jan Vertonghen has said he is keen to join international team-mate Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Vertonghen, 23, had an impressive season for the Dutch giants, having received his first-team opportunity thanks to the departure of Vermaelen to the Gunners.

Left-footed Vertonghen says that Vermaelen has been talking up Arsene Wenger's side.

"I lost a friend when he went to Arsenal but for my career it was good. We get on really well. I speak to him sometimes a few times a week,” Vertonghen said in The Sun.

"I see him with the national team and he sometimes comes back to Amsterdam for a few days when he is free and we hang out together.

"He is one of my best friends and I'm very happy he has been such a success at Arsenal. He tells me really good things about Arsenal and living in London.”

In spite of his desire to play in the Premier League Vertonghen is likely to play one more season in the Eredivisie.

"I heard Arsenal made an enquiry along with a few other clubs. I read something in the newspapers,

"I have always said to myself I want one more year at Ajax, hopefully become a champion and then move.

"I am ambitious. I want to play in the Premier League.

“The Premier League is my favourite competition but I need one more year before I am ready. I always said I don't want to move this year so the clubs never came to me.

"They always went to Ajax and the club always said they didn't want to sell me so I will stay for another year."

However, with Ajax understood to be keen to sell off some of their more valuable assets in order to service debts and Arsenal in need of defensive cover, a deal could be struck this summer.

Arsenal have lost William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre and Philippe Senderos this summer.

By Ian Woodcock

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