Feeling proud and relieved, Jan Vertonghen said goodbye to Ajax. The 25 year old Belgian will spend the next years playing in London with Tottenham Hotspur. The transfer was finalized at the end of the De Lutte training camp. Vertonghen looks back on an unforgettable time at Ajax. Moreover, he has a mission in England.
Congratulations on your transfer to Tottenham Hotspur. Are you relieved?
“I’m happy that the soap opera surrounding my transfer is over. It’s a weight off my shoulders. I’m happy that I don’t need to worry. Now that everything is official, I can focus on other things again.”
How was your last practice as an Ajax player last Friday?
“It’s happened a few times lately that I’ve thought I was doing my last practice. But of course it’s a different feeling when I realised that it really was my last training. Although it’s not like I’ll never see the Ajax folks again. Actually, I see quite a few of the guys outside of football, so I’ll definitely keep in touch. It doesn’t feel like a definite goodbye, because all of my friends are from Amsterdam. If I have three days off in England, then I’ll come to Amsterdam. In that respect, I’ll still be involved with Ajax.”
Which memories from your Ajax time will stay with you?
“I have the greatest memories of Ajax and Amsterdam. The club and the city have formed me as a person. Every morning, I got up with a good feeling, because I always liked going to Ajax. I’ve had the greatest moments of my life there. The championships from 2011 and 2012 were unforgettable. Next to that, I’ve always felt appreciated by the supporters and people at Ajax. And that feeling was mutual.”
Are we getting another ambassador in London?
“I’m definitely going to promote Amsterdam. A bunch of tourists are going to come over here. You can be sure of that.”
What are your expectations at Tottenham Hotspur?
“It’s great that I can start there during the preparation period. That was important for me. I’m going to have a good time there. I’ve heard some nice stories about Tottenham lately. The fact that it’s a warm club is important for me, since I’m a feelings person. And London is, of course, a world class city. I can discover again. I’m definitely not going to pass that up. I’m open for new people and a new phase in my life.”
You have at least one person on White Hart Lane who shares your love for Ajax and Amsterdam.
“It’s nice that Rafael van der Vaart and I share the same background. So I can talk about Ajax often in London. When I spoke to him recently, he gave me the same feeling as the club had given me. The good feeling I had was reinforced by that.