Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho must be prepared to be without defender Jan Vertonghen for the rest of the season, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists that the 33-year-old would have committed to a short-term deal by now if he had any intentions of staying beyond the end of the month.
Sky Sports report that Tottenham have asked Vertonghen, whose contract expires this month, if he would be willing to stay on board until the end of the season but are being made to wait by the centre-back.
Clubs have until June 23 to extend the deals of players who are out of contract on 30 June, with the Premier League set to return on June 17.
However, Whelan believes that Spurs need to prepare for Vertonghen leaving the club midway through their final set of fixtures.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Obviously it doesn’t seem the player is going to stay.
“If he was, the contract negotiations are probably miles off from what he was thinking and what he can get on a free transfer. He’s one of these players where it’s probably going to be his last contract, a good one.
“He’s looking to capitalise on being a free agent and looking to take as much as he can for the remainder of his footballing career. I see that and I understand that.
“Tottenham will just have to deal with that news and try and deal with the fact they won’t have an international, top-class defender playing for them for the rest of the season with these nine crucial games coming up.”
Vertonghen has played 26 times for Spurs this season, although he was in and out of the side prior to the Premier League shutdown.
He has a total of 311 appearances under his belt for the north Londoners, as well as 118 caps for his country.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed that a teen sensation has quit the club to move abroad.