With Javier Mascherano likely to remain with Liverpool, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has assessed probable alternatives, and has pinpointed Ajax’s Belgian midfielder Jan Vertonghen as a potential new addition to his midfield engine room.
Spanish publication Sport suggests that the Blaugrana have given up hope on landing the Argentine, and Vertonghen, who at just 22 has his best years ahead of him, has become a possible target.
The versatile international can play in central defense and midfield, as well as full-back. One noted admirer of Vertonghen is former Ajax legend Johann Cruyff, who has recently praised the defender.
The player himself expressed to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws how flattered he felt by interest from such an illustrious club, but noted he will wait for official word before jumping to any conclusions.
“Normally I do not think much about what is published in newspapers, but I will wait for something formal to be communicated before making up my mind.”
Vertonghen is contracted with Ajax until 2013, and it is not yet clear what kind of fee would be demanded by the Dutch side in order to negotiate a transfer.
Paul Macdonald, Goal.com