By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 18 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

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Tottenham have opened talks with Jan Vertonghen over a contract worth £16.4million, Football Insider sources understand.

Spurs are willing to offer the Belgium international an improved four-and-a-half-year deal that will lift his salary to around £70,000-a-week.

A Tottenham source has told Football Insider that the club want to tie Vertonghen down to fresh terms as they close in on a new agreement for Christian Eriksen.

Vertonghen, 28, is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage that could keep him out for six more weeks but he has been excellent this season alongside Toby Alderweireld in the centre of defence.

His deal expires in the summer of 2018, but Spurs want to extend the deal until 2020.

Spurs have previously cashed in on their prized assets, such as Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, but manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to keep the current squad together and develop a youthful and hugely promising group of players.

Exacting demands: Eriksen has been a key player under Pochettino this season

Target men: Pochettino is keen to tie Spurs’ key players to long-term deals

Other than simply keeping the squad together for Pochettino, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is well aware that the likes of Vertonghen and Eriksen will be more valuable if they are tied to longer contracts.

In other Tottenham news, Sky pundit Jamie Carragher has claimed Pochettino’s managerial performance this season will go down as the greatest in Premier League history if Spurs go on to win the title.