Transfer news: Arsenal and Tottenham in pursuit of Ajax defender Joel Veltman

Dutch centre-back is of high priority for both north London clubs

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The Independent Football

Arsenal and Tottenham are set to fight it out for the signing of Ajax central defender Joel Veltman when the transfer window reopens in the summer.

The Gunners’ are looking at several replacements for club captain Thomas Vermaelen, whose future at the club remains unclear.

The Belgian has fell well behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertsacker as Arsenal’s starting centre backs this season due to injuries and loss of form.

Tottenham, on the other hand, are keeping tabs on 22-year-old Veltman because of their fears of losing Jan Vertonghen in the transfer market.

The two north London sides both tried to sign Vertonghen from Ajax in 2012 with Spurs winning that battle. Now the old rivals look likely to go head-to-head again in the pursuit of Veltman’s signature.

Veltman made his international debut for the Netherlands in November and is likely to be included in their World Cup squad. He also played a key role in Ajax being crowned Dutch League champions for a fourth consecutive year.