Jan Vertonghen is one of many, many professional footballers who are currently careening towards contract limbo thanks to the coronavirus outbreak and the stoppage of football. We’ve some about this already, but there aren’t any good answers about what to do with these players who, like Jan, will find themselves out of contract at the beginning of June, especially when the current plan is to restart the Premier League sometime in that month so the season can be completed in full.
And then there’s the transfer window itself, which is a whole other bag of worms. Will there be one? When? How long? Can players sign if the 2019-20 season is still going on? There aren’t any good answers and the entire situation is mind-numbing.
For Jan, it’s more personal. While all contract negotiations have ground to a halt throughout the club, the implication before the shutdown was that Spurs had not offered Jan an extension to his deal, or if they had it was a short term contract. That’s meant that Vertonghen now needs to consider whether he wants to stay at a club that he says he loves, or move on to a longer deal in a new country.
In an interview with Play Sports Kot, Jan seems to say that he’s keeping everything on the table for now, thinks he has a few good years left in him, and is open to staying... or leaving.
I was able to dig up the full 30 minute video on Twitter, which is supremely unhelpful as I don’t speak a word of Dutch. Here it is.
Maybe eventually some enterprising person in /r/coys will provide a full translation (or if you’re reading and want to give us the gist, put it in the comments). For now, we’ll have to settle for the Cliff Notes version from Belgian journalist Kristoff Terreur.
He added that Spain & Italy are options. That the length of the contract will play a role. Learning another language is on his bucket list too. “It might sound weird, but since the corona crisis there is more interest. I’m a free agent & some clubs might not have a lot of money”— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) April 22, 2020
That’s not a lot of guidance on his intentions, which is probably the point. Nobody has any idea what the club wants, or what Jan wants, for that matter. However, if he does leave, Italy would probably be a good landing spot for him — the slower pace of the league would allow him to squeeze a few top-level seasons out before he hangs up his boots, and I can totally see one of the Milan clubs going after him.
It’s going to be a while before we get any sort of resolution, but if I had to warrant a guess I’d say that Vertonghen will most likely leave. If he does, I wish him nothing but the best.