By Wayne Veysey

23rd Nov, 2019 | 6:00pm

Sources: Tottenham line up transfer missions for like-for-like Vertonghen replacement

Tottenham are keeping close tabs on Nathan Ake as they step up their search for a new centre-back, Football Insider understands.

Spurs are in the market for at least one, and possibly central defenders, in the next two transfer windows.

A Tottenham source has told Football Insider that the club are looking at Ake as a left-sided centre-back who can also fill in at left-back.

He would be a like-for-like replacement for Jan Vertonghen, who turns 33 in April and is out of contract at the end of the season.

Tottenham have a longstanding interest in Ake and are set to watch him closely over the coming months through regular scouting missions.

The 24-year-old has made a big impression at Bournemouth since signing from Chelsea for £20million in the summer of 2017 after an initial spell on loan the previous campaign.

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Ake started all 38 of their league matches last season and he was in the starting XI for the 13th game out of 13 in this campaign against Wolves at the Vitality Stadium today.

Tottenham are short of homegrown players and are looking to rectify that with the signings they make in the coming windows.

Ake – despite being Dutch – counts as a homegrown player, having left Feyenoord for Chelsea at the age of 16 and spent his formative years with the Premier League club.

He has spoken of his frustration at being demoted to the reserves while new Spurs manager Jose Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea.

Mourinho named Toby Alderweireld – who is also out of contract next summer – and Davinson Sanchez as the two centre-backs in his first Tottenham team today as they beat West Ham 3-2.

Vertonghen was unavailable due to injury while Eric Dier, who had started the previous two matches in defence, was pushed forward into central midfield.

In other Tottenham news, it can be REVEALED that Pochettino ‘blew his top’ after Levy agreed £10m Spurs ‘spy’ deal.