Vertonghen out, Albiol in; could Spurs complete surprise swap deal?

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in signing Napoli defender Raul Albiol.

Tottenham continue to blow hot and cold under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine facing a much tougher task at White Hart Lane than many anticipated when he made the switch from Southampton.

Saturday's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace was another tepid affair at home, where Tottenham have struggled for results all season, and reinforcements in January are expected.

Reports suggest that the likes of Hector Moreno, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jay Rodriguez and Teofilo Gutierrez are on Pochettino's wishlist, but the focus will equally be on moving players out of North London.

One of the players now expected to leave is Belgian international Jan Vertonghen, who has failed to hit the form he showed in the 2012/13 season.

Pochettino has toyed with his centre back pairings so far, with Federico Fazio, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul all getting extended playing time as Spurs struggle to find a consistent duo in defence.

Vertonghen has been frustrated at being left out of the side, and amid comments from his former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood that the 27-year-old 'just can't defend', interest has sparked from Premier League big boys Liverpool and Manchester United.

Yet another club recently linked with a move to sign Vertonghen are Serie A side Napoli, who also haven't managed to find a stable centre back pairing under Rafael Benitez – and Spurs could engineer a swap deal to send Vertonghen to Italy.

According to the Daily Mirror, Spurs want to bring Napoli's Spanish centre back Raul Albiol to White Hart Lane, and the potential of an exchange involving the defenders could be interesting for all parties.

Albiol, 29, will be familiar to Pochettino from his time in La Liga, with the defender playing for Real Madrid whilst Pochettino coached Espanyol.

The speculation over Benitez's future at the Stadio San Paolo has resulted in confusion over whether Albiol will look to leave, and Tottenham are allegedly ready to take advantage of the indecision by bringing him to England.

A strong and no-nonsense defender, Albiol would be a superb addition for Tottenham as they seek a top class centre back, whilst Benitez's recent interest in Vertonghen could help them swing the deal.

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