Jan Vertonghen has revealed that he made a move to Tottenham in 2012 having snubbed the opportunity to join north London rivals Arsenal.
Two old adversaries will lock horns once again at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, with Vertonghen set to be charged with the task of keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Co. quiet.
He could, however, have been lining up on the opposite side of the divide had things worked out differently as he prepared to head for the exits at former club Ajax.
The versatile 30-year-old defender had several options to consider after proving his quality in Amsterdam, with talks held with Arsenal and Spurs before making a call on his future.
Vertonghen told The Mirror on that battle for his signature: “It was as close as it can get. My agent went to Arsenal, I wasn’t there myself but it was very respectful and in the end I had to make a choice and I chose Spurs.
“I chose Spurs and I think it’s turned out well. I felt I was joining a great team, with great plans and the personal chats I had with people at Spurs were great. I followed my instinct, my gut feeling and that’s it.”
Vertonghen has gone on to make over 230 appearances for Spurs and is under contract until the summer of 2019.
An extension to that agreement could be discussed in the near future, with a proven performer eager to remain at a club that he sees breaking their trophy drought sooner rather than later.
“I don’t want to say it on the basis of one season, maybe two seasons, but the last three – including this one – we’ve done very well, we’re building a great team with the manager and the new stadium is coming up,” added Vertonghen.
“I am very, very confident we will win a trophy very soon. You want to win trophies. I want to play in a cup final. That’s what happened at Ajax to be fair. We were a team with a lot of quality that was waiting for a few years for a trophy.
“Sometimes you need that trophy or a big win against at Real Madrid or top six side to realise how good you are. I am convinced that if you win one trophy, then the rest will follow.
“We are going to challenge for both (the FA Cup and Champions League) and then we are trying to finish in the top four, so we have three targets. This is what we are playing for and very confident we can keep it going.”