“Hard to understand” – Pundit can’t believe club’s management “let a player like that” leave Spurs for free
Marlon Harewood, while speaking exclusively with Football FanCast, has claimed he cannot believe Daniel Levy let Jan Vertonghen leave Tottenham Hotspur for free this summer.
Vertonghen departed north London at the end of his £100,000-per-week contract after seeing his playing time limited under Jose Mourinho, who started the Belgian in just 13 Premier League fixtures upon succeeding Mauricio Pochettino at the helm.
The 33-year-old centre-half left Spurs after 315 games across all competitions, featuring 14 goals, seven assists and a key role in guiding the club to the 2018/19 Champions League Final and the 2014/15 EFL Cup Final.
Vertonghen joined Portuguese giants SL Benfica as a free agent following his Tottenham exit and has proven a regular under Jorge Jesus, who has favoured the 123-cap international in every fixture he has been available for.
A facial fracture prevented Vertonghen from featuring at home to SC Farense in October’s 3-2 Liga NOS win, which helped the Estadio da Luz natives to second in the table to rivals FC Porto ahead of visiting C.S. Maritimo on Monday.
Harewood continues to be in disbelief at Levy’s decision to allow Vertonghen to leave Spurs in the summer, feeling the veteran central defender would take Mourinho’s current backline to another level.
“They might have their reasons for that situation, but sometimes it’s hard to understand why you would let a play like that go when your defence is struggling. Defensively, you’re not the best, you’re good, but you’re not the best,” Harewood told FFC.
Mourinho had favoured a defensive pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier for five of Tottenham’s opening nine Premier League fixtures, but was without the 31-year-old Belgian for Sunday’s London Derby with rivals Chelsea through a muscular injury.
Tottenham have begun the 2020/21 campaign with one of the Premier League’s best defensive records and are among the top-flight’s most winning sides, while Southampton and West Ham were the only clubs to strike home multiple goals ahead of facing Chelsea.
Clean sheets had been hard for Spurs to find, though, with Tottenham not recording a shut out until matchday six when they held Burnley to just four shots on target from 13 attempts at Turf Moor.
Brighton and West Bromwich Albion were each restricted to only two on-target efforts in defeats earlier this month, too, while Manchester City were forced to attempt seven of their 22 efforts outside of the Spurs penalty area in defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.