Belfast Telegraph

Vertonghen: No new Spurs deal

Jan Vertonghen will not be signing a new contract at Tottenham, although the defender insists he remains "very happy" at White Hart Lane.

The 27-year-old has been one of Spurs' best performers during the often tumultuous period since arriving from Ajax in 2012.

Such form has seen Vertonghen regularly linked with a move away from north London, although he looked set to follow Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose and Harry Kane in signing a new long-term deal this summer.

Two weeks ago his agent, Mustapha Nakhli, said he was close to agreeing a new long-term deal at Spurs, although Vertonghen says those negotiations have now ended.

"I am not signing, no," Vertonghen said. "We agreed not to.

"I would prefer not to say why. I still have four years left. I am happy at the club and I think they are happy with me. That's where it ends.

"I am very happy, we have a good manager, we have a good team and a lot of good players.

"The squad is very big and you have to work hard to play every game and I hope I am playing again soon."

The news will come as a blow to Spurs fans, many of whom have been surprised by his lack of opportunities under Mauricio Pochettino in recent weeks.

Previously one of the first names on the team sheet, he has found time restricted as the former Argentina international rotates his side.

"I hope I play every game in the weekends and midweek," Vertonghen said, having been restored to the starting line-up for the 3-1 Capital One Cup win against Nottingham Forest.

"I want to play in the biggest games. That is what you are a footballer for.

"We have got a lot of centre-backs now with Fazio, with Eric Dier who is doing very well.

"Obviously Vlad (Chiriches) and Younes (Kaboul) played at the weekend and we are fighting for two places with those guys.

"Everyone has to be just that little bit better so the manager chooses them."

Rumours have grown of an issue between Pochettino and Vertonghen, although the Belgian was quick to dismiss such talk.

"He is working well with a lot of videos and individually he talks a lot with the players," he said.

"He is a manager who expects a lot from players. We work hard and that is good - it will pay off in the end, I think."

Wednesday's defeat of Forest was a timely shot in the arm for Spurs after a four-match winless streak.

Extending that run further would have made life in tougher heading to the Emirates Stadium this weekend to take on bitter rivals Arsenal.

"It is a very good team," Vertonghen said. "They have got a lot of good players and I think they improved every year since I came here.

"They have got a very good team at the moment with the pace they have got up front with Welbeck, who I think is a very good signing, and Alexis as well.

"They have got a lot of creativity and movement and they are just one of the best teams in the league and very difficult to beat, especially at their ground."

Spurs' determination to do well at the Emirates was highlighted by the 11 changes they made against Forest, who themselves made nine alterations as they look to keep their promotion charge on track.

One of those coming in was 19-year-old Jorge Grant, who capped his full debut with a goal that looked like it would hand Stuart Pearce's side victory.

Efforts from Ryan Mason, Roberto Soldado and Kane put paid to that, though, on a night that will live long in the midfielder's memory despite the defeat.

"I'll remember that forever," Grant said. "It was my first start and to get a goal was great but we wanted to win the game really and it's unlucky that we haven't."

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