After a protracted summer transfer saga, Tottenham have finally landed their number one target, Jan Vertonghen, who joins the north London club from Ajax. Much has been made over the Belgian’s addition, as the defender’s performances have had some of Europe’s top clubs sit up and take note. With Vertonghen admitting that he wanted to join Spurs over rivals Arsenal, a White Hart Lane favourite could well be in the making, but the new man has enormous shoes to fill in the form of outgoing captain Ledley King.

Homegrown hero King has been in all Tottenham fans’ hearts over the last decade, as the central defender has shown the White Hart Lane faithful mercurial displays, led those around him and solidified a team in transition. The well-documented injury problems that have blighted the ex-England international’s career have seemingly finally got the better of him, and as such the 31-year-old’s reign in north London is done.

At his best King appeared simply unmoveable at times, with Spurs fans having memories of the commanding defender thwarting rival attacks at will. With a number of changing and questionable centre-half partners over his 14-year tenure in the Tottenham first-team, King has exuded class and style from day one.

However, it is time for the King to step down, and hand over the mantle to another. Spurs’ dramatic fall from glory in early 2012 saw them slip from title contenders to scrapping into fourth place on the last day, and cruelly missing out on Champions League football. The turning point was the 5-2 hammering Harry Redknapp’s side took at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates in February, with endless Gunners’ attacks bring their rivals to their knees.

That day, Ledley King did not save the side like he had done so many times before, and as painful as it is for Spurs fans to admit, was out of his depth. Further injuries and more less than convincing performances followed, but the White Hart Lane faithful will opt to remember King as a Rolls Royce of a defender rather than the sidelined skipper.

With a change of manager, a busy transfer window predicted and a wave of optimism sweeping through the club, it is now Vertonghen’s turn to lead the Tottenham backline. The new man shares similar qualities with King, which will have Spurs fans praying for a new unshakeable defensive stalwart. Vertonghen’s versatility, ability on the ball, poise whilst under pressure and athleticism he shares with the man he has been bought to replace. His signature is a statement of Tottenham’s intent.

If Vertonghen replicates the assured performances that he showed as Ajax captain, Spurs fans may well have another defensive lynchpin to worship. For the time being, the Belgian has a massive job to follow in the footsteps of a worthy club legend.

Published – Soccerlens


  1. So glad that you have an appreciation of just how good Ledley was – the best english centre back of his generation and a right proper bloke – don’t actually know how many times he got booked but a handful at most. If ever there was anyone to aspire to, Mr Vertonghen has his icon. All the best to Jan and thank you Ledley.

  2. great article and vertonghen is a leader in the making but i do hope that ledley does get offered a coaching role as his ability to read passes and time tackles were world class.

  3. Ledley’s career is nearly over but I don’t think his retirement has been officially confirmed. However, Vertonghen and Kaboul as a first-choice central pairing makes me salivate! We had the best midfield in the league last season (arguably) but we will soon have [arguably again] the best defence in the league this coming season. Walker, Kaboom, Verminator II and BAE Systems will be great!!

  4. An intellegent article. I hope Ledders does retire as I’d rather see him training young players at Spurs than hobbling about on his damaged knees. (I damaged my knee playing football 35 years ago and it now takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed). I’m sure Jan the man will be a more than able replacement and will forge a solid centre back pairing with Kaboul, and with very able back-ups in Dawson and Caulker.

    • Thanks Mikee – I actually think Caulker could get a bit of game time, nice to see a player come through the youth ranks to the first team – but he has a lot of work to do to be the next Ledley!

  5. What a great article and very well written. I have a feeling that Younès Kaboul and Vertonghen will be the main pairing hopefully with Caulker getting game time. Sir Ledley was an absolute legend but has been so off the pace of late.


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