It is only waiting for the official announcement of “SuperJan” Vertonghen at Anderlecht

Jan Vertonghen did not appear in the center circle. However, the Anderlecht audience had hoped that the Red Devil would be presented before the kick-off against AA Gent, where they wanted to cheer him on en masse, but Vertonghen is a modest type. The many selfies on the way to the stadium: that’s something for later. After a very intensive day, he preferred to watch the topper elsewhere in peace. The curious fans will have to be patient, because the transfer will only be officialized today.

Talked to Yaremchuk

It has therefore been hectic, eventful days for the defender. Anderlecht had been pointing its feelers to Vertonghen’s agents for some time, but it was only a week ago that the Purple & White had contact with the player himself. The inhabitants of Brussels felt more and more that Vertonghen was inclined to return to Belgium.

Earlier, Club Brugge had also followed his situation, but that turned out to be nothing. Still, that player made him think that the Jupiler Pro League might still be a good move, especially because the slopes in the top competitions did not become concrete. By the way, he talked to his Benfica teammate Roman Yaremchuk, who went to Jan Breydel, about such a potential move.

Anderlecht jumped into the dance at the right moment. Vertonghen only had a one-year contract with Benfica, but had ended up on the bench. With the end of the transfer window in sight, the club have expressed their willingness to let him go on a free transfer – at least, according to several Portuguese sources. Then Benfica would – according to the same information channels – also save 4 million euros in salary. His competitor Morata was still injured for two months, but that did not change Benfica’s mind. Vertonghen got his safe-conduct.

Unlike many other football stars, Vertonghen did not board a private jet. He flew to Zaventem on a regular scheduled flight, but there was a nice reception committee at the airport: four photographers and three camera crews. VRT, VTM and Mauve TV longed for SuperJan. Or is it Superman? Anderlecht’s home transmitter would even follow him closely for a whole day. That was already a signal that the Purple & White had a lot of confidence in a good outcome of this deal.

© Olivier Matthys

Vertonghen himself was his friendly self in the arrivals hall. When he left with brokers Tom De Mul and Yama Sharifi, he answered some questions. “I am always happy to be in Belgium, but I never thought that I would make my debut in the Jupiler Pro League at the age of 35,” it sounded. “Anderlecht came at the right time. Previously, a transfer was never possible – neither from my side, nor from Benfica – but now it is. The feeling is good.”

The Purple & White can especially help him with playing minutes with a view to the World Cup in Qatar and even for the European Championship 2024 in Germany. Still, the player minimized that somewhat. “That didn’t really help. I felt like I was losing control of my own career and I really can’t stand that. I want control and determine my own path.”

Hand in salary

Anderlecht already believes in its added value. Vertonghen played 46 matches at Benfica last season, of which ten matches in the Champions League until the quarter-finals. He is already 35 years old, but Lior Refaelov came here last year at exactly the same age and is still very important. Top pros simply have a longer shelf life. This will also be apparent from the physical and medical tests that the left leg took in the afternoon at UZ Gent.

Then it went to the practice complex in Neerpede, where he was warmly welcomed by chairman Wouter Vandenhaute. The RSCA board nevertheless realized its stunt transfer, even though there had to be tough negotiations. Vertonghen couldn’t stick to his generous Portuguese salary, but that wasn’t a stumbling block.

No, Vertonghen will no longer have a resale value in two years’ time. The goal is that he will be a good teacher for youngsters like Debast, Delcroix, Sadiki or Kana and will give the team presence. The question is how Felice Mazzu will fit him into his team. Will Jan Vertonghen soon compete with Wesley Hoedt and will he be able to live with that? Or is it the intention that the Devil plays next to the Dutchman at the expense of Hannes Delcroix? Anderlecht could use an extra defender, but a big name like Vertonghen also makes the puzzle a bit more complicated if everyone is fit.

Vertonghen himself especially hopes to follow the example of Toby Alderweireld, who is now the patron at Antwerp. Or Vincent Kompany. That also had an immediate impact on Anderlecht when he was still playing.

© Olivier Matthys

The article is in Dutch

Tags: waiting official announcement SuperJan Vertonghen Anderlecht

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