Spurs spending thrills Vertonghen
Jan Vertonghen is convinced that Tottenham have a much better chance of beating Arsenal to a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League this season despite the impending departure of Gareth Bale.
After over two months of negotiation, speculation and controversy, Bale is closing on his world-record move to Real Madrid.
Tottenham fans reacted with fear when it emerged that Real's interest in the player was serious earlier this summer, but a recruitment drive has been so successful this summer that they are no longer perturbed about losing the man who scored 26 times for the club last term.
A quick look at the new arrivals board at White Hart Lane shows why the club are so confident of success in the post-Bale era.
Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho are all regular faces in their respective national squads while in Erik Lamela, Spurs have signed one of the brightest prospects in world football.
Vertonghen, who moved to Spurs from Ajax last summer, has no doubt that other clubs will have taken note of Tottenham's ambition following their spending spree.
"I think it sends a message to everybody, to all the top four, that we want to be up there and they have to look at us as well and where we are going to be," Vertonghen said.
"Other teams are looking at us. There is a lot of interest in us.
"There's a lot of competition and the quality of the players is very high here. They have just so much power. I think we have a strong team anyway, whatever happens (with Bale).
"We have bought some very good players and it is always good to have different players who can score."
Early-season results suggest Tottenham fans have every reason to share Vertonghen's confidence.
Andre Villas-Boas' side have beaten Crystal Palace, Swansea and Dinamo Tbilisi (twice) without conceding a goal.
But the real acid test for Spurs will come on Sunday when they travel to the Emirates Stadium for the first north London derby of the season.
Spurs held a seven-point lead over Arsenal, but just like the year before, they lost their nerve in the final stretch and ended up back in the Europa League.
Vertonghen, who snubbed interest from Arsenal to join Spurs, admitted it was a bitter pill to swallow.
"That was painful, yes," the Belgium defender said.
"We thought we were a better team than Arsenal at the end.
"I don't know why we (slipped up). Maybe they had the experience of playing in the Champions League before. But we were all very disappointed, especially because we thought we were supposed to be comfortable.
"That is why we have to finish in the top four."
Vertonghen has noted an improved strength in the depth of the Tottenham squad following their summer splurge and a surge in confidence among the players.
The Belgian also thinks that with the arrival of powerhouses such as Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue, Arsenal will find themselves up against a much more physically imposing Spurs team.
When asked whether it would be a bruising experience playing against Tottenham, Vertonghen said: "I think so, yes. If you see guys like Chadli, Paulinho and Capoue, they are all tall guys who have pace but physical power as well.
"Maybe we lacked that last year. They make us stronger in both ways, in a skilful way too."