In his first interview since completing his move last week, Jan Vertonghen has spoken about his delight at joining Spurs and his hopes for the 2012-13 campaign.
The Belgian international defender snapped-up from Ajax also admits he's determined 'to make the team better' as he looks forward to his first season in the Premier League.
Welcome to Spurs, Jan. What are your thoughts about moving to the club?
Jan Vertonghen: "I’m delighted to be here. In the last years Spurs became a very big club in England. They finished top four a few times and for me, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to move here. There is a lot of quality here and everyone wants to make another good season again. Last year the first six, seven months the team was there for the championship, after that it was not that well, but I think this time we will compete for a few months longer."
You’ve trained with us for a few days now, what have you made of the players here and how have you settled in?
Jan: "I came here and didn’t know anyone. Rafa van der Vaart isn’t back after the Euros yet. Everyone has been nice to me, they are all good lads and they are like a lot of the Dutch guys, they talk with me, joke with me and that’s what I like."
What are the targets for next season, both for you individually and the team?
Jan: "For me, I just want to play as much as possible and I want to make the team better. That’s what I’m here for. For the team, we have to try and finish as high as possible. The Champions League is a nice target for us. I think the target was the same last season but then the team was in the race for the championship for a long time, so then you have to see what the goals are again."
Are you excited to play in the Premier League?
Jan: "Yes, that’s my favourite competition for so many years. A lot of the Belgian players who I play with in the national team, they are very positive about it and I’m looking forward to playing against them too."
You mentioned Rafa, you know him well from your time at Ajax. Have you managed to speak to him about your move?
Jan: "He’d just left when I came to Ajax but I spoke with him about Spurs and it was very positive. He gave me a great feeling about the club and was very positive about the club, the players and the Premier League. I just hope his stories are true!"
You give the impression that you just can’t wait to get started.
Jan: "Yes, I’m looking forward to it! I wish the Premier League started tomorrow! I have to wait a little longer but I’m looking forward to the start and playing for Spurs."
Before that, we go on tour to America. That will be a good time for you to get to know the players a little better.
Jan: "Yes, I’m looking forward to that. I’ve started to get to know them here but in America we’ll be closer to each other and I will get to know them better. Until now, they are all great guys, so I hope after that too!"