Serie A heavyweight Inter Milan have set their sights on bolstering their former Premier League contingent by making the signing of a Tottenham centre-half a top priority.
Spurs’ squad has already undergone something of a transformation under Jose Mourinho, with midfield maestro Christian Eriksen departing for Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan to avoid the risk of losing the player for free in the summer.
Attention now turns to centre-half Jan Vertonghen, with the Belgian defender’s future still up in the air despite the re-signing of his long-time defensive partner Toby Alderweireld to a new contract in December.
The 32-year-old has fallen out of favour in recent weeks, with the aforementioned Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez often preferred as the centre-back pairing.
That has alerted Inter and Conte once more, with the latest report from UK publication the Evening Standard revealing their interest in the veteran.
A move for Vertonghen would fit with the Nerazzurri’s recent transfer plans, having signed a quintet of ex-Premier League stars in the last 12 months alone (Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, Victor Moses and Christian Eriksen.
One factor that could increase the likelihood of the Italian swoop for Vertonghen materialising is Man City’s reported interest in Inter defensive ace Milan Skriniar.
The Evening Standard article notes that Conte’s side may struggle to ‘keep hold of highly-rated Slovakian centre-half’ amid strong interest from the Citizens.
With Vertonghen’s contract expiring in the summer, he has been free to speak to overseas clubs about the possibility of thrashing out a move as a free agent in the summer, and Scudetto challengers Inter are described as having ‘already made contact with his camp.’
Manager Mourinho is listed as keen to extend the Belgian’s stay, but talks are said to have stalled over a new contract in North London.
Speaking to Belgian newspaper HLN last month, Vertonghen’s agent, Tom De Mul, addressed the speculation regarding his client’s future.
“Jan is still super-happy at Spurs and loves London,” he told Belgian newspaper HLN. “He is still very committed. There’s a lot of respect for Tottenham, just like there is a lot of respect from the club towards us. That’s logical after eight seasons. There is a connection.
“We haven’t reached an agreement as yet, but we don’t rule out anything. There’s interest in him as a free agent, but Spurs is a very interesting option for us. The door’s still open.”