City dealt blow as Arsenal set to snatch star
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini appears to have lost out to Arsenal in the race to sign Ajax centre back Jan Vertonghen.
Vertonghen, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, is understood to have given a verbal agreement to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to make the move to the Emirates Stadium rather than the Etihad.
Ajax know they cannot keep the Belgian international for a season longer as his contract expires in 2013 and his value would plummet next year.
Mancini made a trip to Amsterdam earlier this month to check if Vertonghen really had set his sights on playing with Belgian colleague Thomas Vermaelen in London instead of Vincent Kompany at City next season and the answer appears to have been yes.
The Ajax defender is refusing to publicly declare his intention until the season is over or at least until his club have wrapped up the Eredivisie title, but he today denied that the next few matches already felt like a 'farewell tour' for him.
"I still sit at Ajax and I have still a contract up to 2013, therefore for me it does not feel like a farewell tour.
"Possibly I have already played my last home game, if I pick up a yellow against FC Twente (Vertonghen would then be suspended for the last Ajax home match). I have decided still nothing, therefore it doesn't feel this way."