PLAYER OF THE MONTH MAY 2012
Date of Birth: - 24th April 1987.
Nationality: - Belgian
Height: - 6ft 2inches.
Position: - Defender (CB).
Club History: - Ajax
- Waalwijk (loan)
Linked With: - Arsenal
Estimated Market Value: - Around £12million.
At the age of 15, Vertonghen moved to the Netherlands from Belgium and signed a contract with the youth academy of Eredivisie side Ajax in 2003.
Vertonghen originally began as a holding midfielder but quickly adjusted to centre back for Ajax. During his time in the reserves, he became known for an incident in the 2006 KNVB Cup game against Cambuur Leeuwarden, his first ever home game at the Amsterdam Arena, where he 'scored' a bizarre goal to put Ajax 3-0 up after he attempted to pass to the Cambuur goalkeeper while a teammate was receiving treatment but instead the ball sailed past the shocked goalkeeper, much to the amusement of the spectators and the bewilderment of the players. Due to the circumstances of this goal, Ajax showed remarkable display of sportsmanship as they allowed Cambuur to score a goal in return to cancel out their earlier goal.
23rd August 2006 - Vertonghen made his first team debut as well as the Champions League debut in the Champions League third qualifying round against Copenhagen, coming on as a second-half subsitute in the eventual victory.
Vertonghen then made his Eredivisie debut in the 2006/2007 season (and his full debut as a starter) in a 6-0 win over Willem II at the Amsterdam Arena.
After the winter break, Vertonghen was sent on loan to struggling RKC Waalwijk for the remainder of the season. At RKC Waalwijk he would play 12 matches in which he scored three times, but he was unable to help them avoid relegation to the Eerste Divisie (second division).
After this loan spell, Vertonghen returned to Ajax for the 2007/2008 season, where he was tipped for stardom, but was unable to break through due to a horror injury as well as the presence of John Heitinga and Thomas Vermaelen.
26th September 2008 - Vertonghen extended his contract to 30th June 2013.
The 2008/2009 season was a breakthrough season for the young defender. This was because Heitinga left for Atletico Madrid, so Vertonghen became Vermaelen's first choice partner in central defence.
Vertonghen started in 23 of the 26 games he played in this season, and scored 4 goals.
28th September 2008 - Vertoghen scored a rare double against Vitesse in a 3-0 win.
24 January 2009 - Although sustaining an injury from training during the week, Vertonghen played in the match against FC Groningen, but was unfortunate enough to be sent off for two yellow cards as Ajax lost 1-0.
1st March 2009 - Vertonghen was out for a month after sustaining a hamstring injury in the win away at Utrecht but his return lasted only a few games later as his season was prematurely ended after aggravating another injury.
Vertonghen retained his place in the starting line-up for the 2009/2010 season even though a brand new manager was put into place.
13th September 2009 - Despite injuring his toe while on international duty against Spain the previous week, Vertonghen scored his first goal of the season via a free kick, in a 6-0 thrashing of NAC Breda.
Despite Ajax's erratic form in the latter weeks leading up to the winter break, Vertonghen turned in some strong performances and attracted the interest of a number of clubs from all across Europe as he was beginning to become the talisman of Ajax.
During the 2010/2011 season, Vertonghen became linked with even more clubs and Ajax were clearly beginning to struggle to convince him to stay for much longer, but managed to do so after yet another successful season with the Eredivisie side.
During the 2011/2012 Eredivisie campaign, Vertonghen emerged as one of Ajax's best players once again, demonstrating his versatility to cover multiple positions after Ajax had let several regular players out on long-term loans.
After an impressive season, including a performance for which he was singled out for praise against Manchester United in the Europa League Round of 16, he was named the 2011/2012 Eredivisie Player of the Year. Since this, it has become clear that Vertonghen is destined to move from Ajax, and most likely to the Premier League.
2006 - Vertonghen made his International debut at the U21 level and played in the 2007 UEFA U21 Championships.
21st June 2007 - Vertonghen made his senior debut for the national team in a 2-1 loss to Portugal. He was also selected for the 2008 Olympics and played in every match as the Belgians unexpectedly took fourth place.
In the 2010 World Cup qualifying, he began to establish himself as a regular starter, initially at centre back as former Ajax teammate Thomas Vermaelen's partner.
August 2009 - Vertonghen scored the opening goal (and also his first ever international goal) in a friendly against the Czech Republic that ended in a 3-1 loss.
7th September 2009 - During a qualifer against Spain, he injured his toe and had to be stretchered off and substituted in the 29th minute. Since this injury, he has more often that not played in a holding midfielder role for his national side and performed at a consistently high standard.
Waalwijk - 20 appearances, 3 goals.
Ajax (as of 11/05/2012): - 213 appearances, 27 goals.
I've worked very hard on this profile, and it's taken me much longer than expected so I apologise for the delay.
Vertonghen is obviously a very, very class defender, and you may all be wondering, why is he my Player of the Month for April. Well that's fairly simple. In that month, Ajax managed to wrap up the Eredivisie title, followed by Vertonghen being named the Eredivisie's best player for the 2011/2012 season. Are these 2 events related? Certainly - because without Vertonghen being a rock in the centre of defence, and having the versatility to cover other positions when needed, Ajax would have not won the title.
He is genuinely their talisman, their glue and one of their star-players. He is very, very level headed and has a very cool approach to possession on the ball, and he doesn't try and 'lump it', but play his way out of trouble, unless there is no other alternative but to get rid. I personally think this is a great attribute in a defender and it's very important to have the right balance. I'd say he is fairly pacey for a CB also, and really makes the Ajax team tick like clockwork and sets the pace for his team. I'd also say he's a very very prominent captain, and has extremely good leadership skills.
Now, I know Eriksen is in the Ajax side, and yes he's an amazing player, but in my opinion Vertonghen has outshined him this season with pure consistency, passio and drive. I do believe now is the right time for him to move on and challenge himself, and it looks very likely he will be coming to the Premier League which is great. However, which side will he join?
As I understand it, Spurs are willing to pay more money, offer higher wages and give him guaranteed first-team football, so are certainly winning the race for his signature at the moment. However, I believe Vertonghen's first choice is Arsenal, and I feel Vermaelen could play a fairly big role in Vertonghen being persuaded to join. But it's early days yet, and we will have to wait and see on this saga!
If you have any questions feel free to drop in a comment etc.
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