Stats - Will Spurs target Alderweireld be an upgrade on Vertonghen?

Toby Alderweireld

The two Belgians, who played together at Ajax, may be reunited at White Hart Lane.

With Belgium qualifying for the knockout stages with a game to spare, there should be plenty of optimism for whichever clubs' fans are looking to bring in one of their regular players.

And at Tottenham, there is already a community of impressive Belgian talent, with Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli all key members of the Red Devils World Cup squad.

Vertonghen managed to make the Premier League team of the year in 2012-13, yet has found himself playing on the left of defence for the national team due to his versatility. His former Ajax club mate Toby Alderweireld has encountered the same problems on the other flank of the Belgian defence, and despite a successful first season in Spain with Atletico Madrid in terms of how the club performed, Alderweireld failed to feature as much as he would have liked, making just 22 appearances.

This lack of playing time has seen him linked to joining his compatriots at White Hart Lane, and below we compare Alderweireld and Vertonghen's performances at the World Cup, so that Spurs fans can see what kind of player they may be receiving.

  TeamTotal Att AssistPassing Accuracy %Poss Won Def 3rdEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Jan Vertonghen Belgium 1 82.11 4 4 2 149
Toby Alderweireld Belgium 2 71.58 3 7 2 180

Both defenders have limited attempted assists as part of their forward contribution, with Atletico's 25-year-old player shading it over Vertonghen. The Tottenham star does have much stronger passing accuracy, completing 10% more of his passes than Alderweireld. Vertonghen has also managed to win possession slightly more in his defensive third, though his countryman was more successful with clearing the ball to safety. 

  TeamFoulsTackling Accuracy %Ground Duels Won %Aerial Duels Won %AppsMins
Jan Vertonghen Belgium 3 33.33 70.00 100.00 2 149
Toby Alderweireld Belgium 4 60.00 48.39 37.50 2 180

Vertonghen's record is sullied given that the only goal Belgium have conceded has come courtesy of his clumsy challenge in the penalty area during the game with Algeria. He has actually managed to concede fewer fouls than Alderweireld aside from that, and boasts significantly stronger success rates in duels for possession on the ground and the air. He has struggled in the tackling department though, winning just one of his three attempts compared to Alderweireld's three from five.

By the looks of the stats above, Vertonghen is a more capable player in possession, as illustrated by his strong passing percentage. Alderweireld on the other hand edges the defensive side of the game, even if he does lose out to the Tottenham centre back in the air.

In all likelihood, were Alderweireld to join Pochettino's squad, he would line up alongside Vertonghen in the middle of the defence, in which case their experience playing together, and slightly different playing styles, would be of great benefit to the team.

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