The 25-year-old has made 15 Premier League appearances for the White Hart Lane outfit after completing a move from Eredivisie champions Ajax.
But Vertonghen admitted he was close to joining Tottenham’s derby rivals before eventually signing a deal with André Villas-Boas’ side.
“Arsenal’s interest was concrete, but they wanted me to be a controller in the midfield, an Emmanuel Petit-type,” Vertonghen told Dutch website NUsport.
“I’m not afraid of competition, but the overall picture of Spurs appealed to me more.”
Vertonghen rose to prominence at Ajax, leading the Amsterdam outfit to the top-flight title in May before joining Spurs.
Tottenham manager Villas-Boas has largely used the Belgium international at left-back this season, but Vertonghen believes his best position is in the middle of defence.
“Ultimately, I just came to play at centre back,” he added.
“Gareth Bale had to play left back, but it did not work so he pushed forward and I moved to full-back.
“I see myself still as a centre-back. I’m not agile enough to play against players like Nani and [Raheem] Sterling.”
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