Liverpool to fight Manchester United with January bid to sign Jan Vertonghen

According to reports, Liverpool want to beat Manchester United to the signing of Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen.

Liverpool splashed out £20m on Dejan Lovren and £12m on Alberto Moreno, but you could make a case that the Reds defence is worse than it was last season, and their backline ultimately cost them in the title race.

Mamadou Sakho has been completely out of the picture, Martin Skrtel has been poor whilst Glen Johnson remains a defensive liability and could leave in January or at the end of the season.

It would be little surprise to see Sakho leave the club and head back to France in January, and if that's the case, then Liverpool may need to snap up another left footed centre back.

That could lead them to Tottenham, with the Daily Mail reporting that Jan Vertonghen is a target for the Reds in the January transfer window.

The 27-year-old has been in and out of the Spurs side under Mauricio Pochettino, and after his failed bid to land the captain's armband at White Hart Lane, speculation suggests that the former Ajax star could leave next month.

Yet Liverpool won't be alone in chasing him. Of course, just over a week ago, Manchester United were linked with a bid to sign Vertonghen, meaning the two big rivals could go head to head over Vertonghen.

Days ago, the Belgian's former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood blasted his displays, saying that Vertonghen 'just can't defend', which is hardly a ringing endorsement.

It's true that Vertonghen has already had an up and down season, but there is certainly talent there. The left footer is impressive bringing the ball out from the back, and could also be utilised at left back or even in defensive midfield to harness his technical abilities.

One of the biggest criticisms he's received from Tottenham fans is that he's too lazy at times, and regularly switches off mentally, leading to errors and goals against them.

If either Liverpool or Manchester United do want Vertonghen, then it would be a huge gamble - and Spurs are still likely to demand a £20m fee for his services.

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