The long-term future of Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham Hotspur is increasingly with the defender reportedly considering his options.
Vertonghen has been at White Hart Lane for two seasons, opting for Spurs over Arsenal with the expectation of helping them qualify for the Champions League.
However after missing out narrowly last season, it once again appears as if Tottenham will not qualify this season.
Vertonghen, 27 next month, has two more full seasons left on his four-year contract, worth about £40,000 a week. He is almost certain to be offered a new, improved deal, possibly before the World Cup, but whether he will sign it is another matter.
Hugo Lloris has also hinted that his future might lie away from Spurs if they cannot reach the top four this season. Yet while the France goalkeeper’s attitude and performance level have remained exemplary, not everyone at Tottenham believes the same can be said of Vertonghen.
Read more: We will go to Portugal to win - Kaboul
Tottenham v Arsenal - match preview
Sherwood rages at Jesus
Tottenham 1 Benfica 3 - report
Spurs struggling to keep Vertonghen
Some insiders believe Vertonghen’s recent displays have been far below the standard he usually produces and others are concerned about his approach. After the 1-0 defeat at Norwich on February 23, he was asked whether he would be happy to stay at Spurs for another season outside the Champions League.
“Those are difficult questions,” he responded. “Do I have a decision to make if we don’t qualify? I can’t say anything about that. Let’s see after the World Cup.”
Tim Sherwood was vociferous in his criticism of his players after last weekend’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea and yesterday the Spurs boss went on the attack again, telling his squad they were playing for their futures.
He said: “I want players who want to play for the club. They’ve got until the end of the season to show they’re playing for the club not for themselves.”
Sherwood also revealed that he had started to discuss summer plans with chairman Daniel Levy and the club are understood to be monitoring the progress of Daley Blind, the Ajax midfielder and son of former Holland international, Danny.
Spurs scouts are impressed by Blind, 24, who has nine caps and signed a three-year extension to his contract a year ago. His deal expires at the end of the 2015-16 season.
Kyle Walker, who has been suffering from a hip injury, has been cleared to play in tonight’s Europa League tie against Benfica despite missing training yesterday.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies