Opinion: Tottenham must replace key leader, fan favourite and cult hero

Tottenham Hotspur’s recruitment division has work on its hand this summer, as the club looks to refresh Jose Mourinho’s squad ahead of next season.

While reinforcements in midfield and attack appear necessary, the departure of Jan Vertonghen leaves a hole in the Spurs defence and removes a leader from the dressing room.

The 33-year-old Belgian spent eight years in North London, joining Tottenham from Ajax back in 2012 and developing into a firm fan favourite.

Super Jan’s versatility, reading of the game and physicality was a real asset for Spurs during the Mauricio Pochettino era, especially when he partnered compatriot Toby Alderweireld at the back.

With Vertonghen’s contract expiring at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, the Tottenham hierarchy had a decision on its hand but ultimately it felt like time for a parting of ways. 

However, Belgium’s international record appearance holder leaves an impressive recent legacy at Spurs and as such finding a new defensive leader in the transfer market will pose a big challenge.

Tottenham have international centre-halves like Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez on their books, but there is a feeling that another commanding centre-back would be a shrewd acquisition.

The Spurs fans will remember Vertonghen for his composure and commitment – thank you Super Jan – your boots will take some filling.