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Vertonghen: Arsenal wanted me as a midfielder

ESPN staff
December 13, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has confirmed he had an offer from Arsenal in the summer - but turned down the Gunners because they wanted him to play as a holding midfielder.

Spurs won the race to sign Vertonghen in the summer, after the versatile Ajax defender opted to test himself at a higher level. But it was so nearly the other Premier League club in north London that the Belgium international ended up joining.

"(Arsenal's interest) was concrete, but they wanted me to be a controller in the midfield, an Emmanuel Petit-type," Vertonghen told Dutch website NUsport. "I'm not afraid of competition, but the overall picture of Spurs appealed to me more."

However, Vertonghen has not always got to play his preferred position so far at White Hart Lane, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto's injury seeing him selected at left-back for much of the current campaign. But with the Cameroonian set to return to first team action shortly, Vertonghen is looking forward to reverting to centre-back and showing his aptitude for the position.

"Ultimately, I just came to play at centre back," he said. "Gareth Bale had to play left back, but it did not work so he pushed forward and I moved to full-back.

"I see myself still as a centre-back. I'm not agile enough to play against players like Nani and [Raheem] Sterling."

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