Saturday, 18th February, 2012

Tottenham Hotspur could be set to step up their interest in Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen after scouting the Belgian in the Dutch side’s 2-0 Europa League defeat to Manchester United on Thursday.

A delegation from Spurs took in Vertonghen’s display at the Amsterdam ArenA and saw the stopper come out with his reputation more than intact despite being on the losing team on the evening. Indeed, in many ways the Ajax man proved ready to step up to the hustle and bustle of the Premier League.

The centre back relished the occasion of facing Manchester United, a taster of what he could expect if he were to make the leap in the summer to England.

"Especially in the first half, it was very nice", said Vertonghen to De Telegraaf, reflecting upon the match.

"Especially since we were playing against an English opponent", he added.

Ajax have been planning for the 24-year-old’s departure for some time and coach Frank de Boer half expected to lose the player’s services in the transfer window last month.

And De Boer has backed Vertonghen, believing the defender to be ready to compete against the likes of Manchester United on a regular basis.

"Jan is already close to the level of Manchester United", said the Ajax coach, adding: "And he can still improve."

Vertonghen is under contract until 2013 at the Amsterdam ArenA and, although Ajax have indicated a willingness to extend the Belgium international’s deal, he is expected to try his luck in a bigger league next season.

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