Newcastle United join race for Eredivisie leader

Reports are suggesting that Newcastle United are the latest club to be associated with a move for Ajax defender, Jan Vertonghen.

The Belgian international has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham but after snapping up the January transfer of sought after striker Papiss Demba Cissé, it seems the North East outfit are keen to challenge some of England’s elite this summer.

After the departure of Maarten Stekelenburg to AS Roma last summer, Vertonghen was appointed captain of Ajax for the 2011-12 campaign and although his side slipped to an aggregate defeat against the Red Devils, the 24 year-old recently led his side in a 2-1 victory over Manchester Untied at Old Trafford.

Newcastle were being linked with moves for numerous central defenders over the winter transfer window such as Adrian Marriapa, Scott Dann and now Anzhi Makhachkala defender, Christopher Samba.

The Magpies lost the services of Steven Taylor in late 2011 after the former England Under-21 international was ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury.

Although the 26 year-old will be back to full fitness in time for next season, the North East club are still understood to be seeking defensive reinforcements and although they will face considerable competition for Vertonghen’s signature, Alan Pardew’s side seem intent on getting their man.

The move shows growth for the Premier League side who are still in with a shout of gaining a European place this campaign.

If Vertonghen – who has 35 caps for Belgium – were to complete a switch to the English top flight, his signature would be expected to cost an estimated £16m.

Footybunker.com