Graham Roberts, the former Tottenham Hotspur captain, has told Football FanCast that the club and chairman Daniel Levy made a huge mistake by allowing Jan Vertonghen to leave the club last summer.
The Belgium international called time on an eight-year spell in north London last summer as he moved to Benfica in Portugal.
He has gone on to make 37 appearances in all competitions, and he remains an integral member of the Belgium squad, often captaining his country.
Spurs have struggled this season defensively, with Jose Mourinho repeatedly chopping and changing his backline, switching between the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Joe Rodon and Davinson Sanchez.
In their last six games, before Mourinho’s sacking, Spurs conceded 12 goals.
And Roberts believes that Vertonghen would have been perfect in a back-three for Spurs this season, as he continually shows for Benfica and Belgium that he remains a more-than-competent defender.
He told FFC: “But I think the biggest factor for us was we lost Jan Vertonghen in the summer and I don’t think Jan’s legs had gone.
“I think in a back three he would have been absolutely perfect. Him, Toby, and you could have played Sanchez or Rodon in between them to cover.
“They would have the legs. But we didn’t, we let him go, and he’s now playing for Benfica and he’s playing for the national team every international game. That was our loss I think.”
Vertonghen made a total of 315 appearances for Spurs.