Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has revealed about a phone call that he made to his Belgian international teammates Mousa Dembele before he made the switch to White Hart Lane. Dembele has established himself as one of the untouchables in the Spurs first team under Mauricio Pochettino. He has formed an impeccable partnership with Victor Wanyama in the centre of midfield. Even though there were some initial doubts about the 29-year-old, Spurs appear to have been convinced quite easily by the existence of Belgian players in the team. Dembele made the switch to Tottenham in the summer of 2012 from Fulham for around €19 million.
Vertonghen was the first arrival at the club. He came to the club in July 2012 from Ajax for around €12 million. He has also established himself as one of the first-team regulars. There is a strong Belgian contingent at Tottenham with the likes of Vertonghen, Dembele, and Toby Alderweireld. They have formed the crux of the team at the back. However, it took just a few weeks for Dembele to also make the switch to Tottenham, as the midfielder came to the club in August 2012. The two players did not need any introduction, as they had been playing together for the national team since 2007.
The Tottenham defender has recalled the phone call that confirmed Dembele’s move to White Hart Lane. Talking to the club’s official website, he said:
“It was funny. I signed quite early in the window and his transfer was dragging on and on. I remember on the 29th of August, I called him and said ‘what’s going on? You only have two days left!’ and he said ‘yes, but I’m signing tomorrow!’ and I was very happy to hear that because I knew what kind of player Mousa is. On and off the pitch, I was a very happy guy.”
Dembele had made his debut for the national team in 2006, while Vertonghen followed up with his international cap a year later. Just like at Tottenham, the two players have been the cornerstone towards the successes achieved by the Belgian national team in the last decade. Vertonghen is close to approaching 100 caps for the national team, while Dembele has 67 appearances.
Vertonghen is currently waiting to return to first-team action after suffering a serious knee injury a few weeks ago. It is not expected that the defender will be back in the first-team reckoning before mid-March. Dembele, meanwhile, has been undergoing a frustrating campaign after making only 16 league appearances due to various injuries over the course of the campaign. In total, he has made 21 appearances in all competitions but is yet to register a goal. It might be as a result of Dembele playing further behind on the pitch. The likes of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Son have been used as a three-pronged supporting cast to Harry Kane.
Dembele and Vertonghen have been hugely influential in helping the club put up a title challenge once again. They will be hoping to end up as winners unlike last season when the club came third.