Jan Vertonghen Tottenham Manchester City Sergio Aguero
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen (L) is a January target for Manchester UnitedReuters

Louis Van Gaal would ideally like to sign a central defender with plenty of experience in the English Premier League, and the Manchester United manager has identified Jan Vertonghen as the perfect candidate.

Manchester United are expected to dip into the January transfer market to sign a central defender, to ease their defensive issues, and Van Gaal has zoned in on Vertonghen as a possibility.

Van Gaal has been heavily linked with a move for another Premier League defender in Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar, but the manager sees Vertonghen as a better long-term prospect, according to the Daily Mirror.

Vertonghen is not having the greatest of times under Mauricio Pochettino, who reportedly has not been too amused by the Belgium international's attitude.

Van Gaal knows all about Vertonghen due to his time with Ajax, and is now considering a bid in the January transfer window.

It will not be easy to prise Vertonghen away from Tottenham, however, as the North London club are likely to demand a stiff £18 million for the defender who moved to White Hart Lane from Ajax in the summer of 2012.

Vertonghen has had a bit of an inconsistent career at Tottenham so far, where at times he has looked world-class, while injuries have also played their part considerably.

However, when Vertonghen has been in top form, he has been excellent for Spurs, which has led to the likes of Barcelona reportedly keeping an eye on the 27-year-old.

Vertonghen is not too happy with life at Tottenham, owing to his limited playing time, and is considering his future.

"I want to play every game but this manager, Pochettino, has a different approach, he likes to give everyone the time to play and settle in," said Vertonghen, according to the Telegraph, while speaking on duty with Belgium.

"Hopefully, one day I can play 60 games a season again, but at the moment, that is not the case.

"My season has been ups and downs like Tottenham itself. I started the season with an injury after the World Cup. I came into the team in the second or third game and then I got dropped again.

"Compared to the other two seasons at Spurs, we now have similar quality centre-backs. [Younes] Kaboul is now fit and he is our captain. They bought [Federico] Fazio and he is an Argentina international and [Vlad] Chiriches is the Romania captain."

Manchester United could give Vertonghen that way out by making a move for the central defender, who can also play at left-back, in January.

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