Belgian centre-back Jan Vertonghen has claimed that a proposed move to Arsenal was "as close as it can get" to being completed before the 30-year-old decided to join Tottenham in 2012.
Verthonghen claimed that his agent visited Spurs' north London rivals before deciding to move to White Hart Lane, insisting that it was a "gut feeling" to snub interest from the Gunners.
Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and it’s a crime he doesn’t get the recognition.— TottenhamTalk (@tottenhamtalk1) January 31, 2018
The Tottenham fan favourite has formed an outstanding partnership with Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs' defence and the experienced pairing are also playing a vital part behind the scenes in helping to bring through the club's next generation of defenders, Juan Foyth and Davinson Sánchez.
"It was as close as it can get," Vertonghen told The Mirror. "My agent went to Arsenal, I wasn't there myself but it was very respectful and in the end I had to make a choice and I chose Spurs. I chose Spurs and I think it's turned out well.
"I felt I was joining a great team, with great plans and the personal chats I had with people at Spurs were great and I followed my instinct, my gut feeling and that's it."
Vertonghen's rise to the top of European football mirrored that of former Arsenal captain, Thomas Vermaelen.
A Belgium-born defender who came through the ranks at Ajax, both players earned valuable first-team experience during a loan spell with Dutch minnows RKC Waalwijk - albeit three years apart.
While Vermaelen has since left north London for Barcelona, Vertonghen has continued to impress in the Premier League and he will have a chance to show the Gunners what they missed out on during the highly-anticipated North London Derby on Saturday.