By Greg Stobart
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will run a personal scouting mission on Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen when the Dutch club face Manchester United tonight.
Spurs have made the Belgian their top defensive target for the summer having held talks over a £10 million move for the 24-year-old in January.
Representatives from the north London club scouted Vertonghen in the first leg of Ajax’s Europa League tie against United last week and Redknapp will himself be in the stands for the return fixture at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Spurs believe Vertonghen has the attributes to be a leading defender in the Premier League and he has been identified as the best long-term replacement for club captain Ledley King, who has a degenerative knee condition.
Redknapp is hot favourite to become the new England manager but, encouragingly for Spurs, has continued to work hard on identifying potential transfer targets as the club attempt to build a squad to mount a genuine title challenge next season.
The 64-year-old will run the rule over United ahead of their visit to White Hart Lane on March 4 but Vertonghen will be the main focus of his attention.
The Ajax captain is out of contract in June 2013 and almost certain to leave the Amsterdam Arena in the summer amid interest from a host of clubs including Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Newcastle.
But Tottenham are believed to be leading the race for the versatile defender, who can also play at full-back and central midfield, as they prepare for a summer spending spree at White Hart Lane.
Spurs hope to convince both Vertonghen and his Belgium team-mate, Lille’s £30m-rated winger Eden Hazard, to join the club in the summer, while Marseille striker Loic Remy is also a big-money target.
Tottenham plan to sell Sebastien Bassong, currently on loan at Wolves, to make room in the squad for Vertonghen, while William Gallas’ future at Spurs is in doubt after a season hampered by muscle injuries.
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