Jan Vertonghen
Vertonghen is the most wanted man in north London Reuters

Jan Vertonghen has insisted that he is staying with Ajax for the short term future, but the defender has hinted that he is planning to leave the club in 18 months as Manchester United continue to be linked with the star.

United have suffered from a growing injury list this season that at one point hit 11 first team players, and the side have been in need of support across the board, to the point where Paul Scholes had to come out of retirement last weekend to make up numbers in the midfield.

And while Nemanja Vidic is injured, defence is an area that Ferguson will be lacking in, though he won't be able to take on Vertonghen for the next year at least, with the 24 year old committing to Ajax for the entirety of his contract.

"Everyone knows that I have ambitions, but my ultimate desire is not to go away just yet," he said, as reported by Talksport.

"I will stay for this season - and it could be that I stay at Ajax until my contract runs out in 2013."

United have insisted on many occasions over the past few months that they won't be chasing any players in the January transfer window, with Ferguson claiming that while he likes 'two or three' players, they aren't available until next summer at least.

Ferguson will get to see Vertonghen up close when Ajax take on United in the Europa League next month, and the Belgium international has been very honest about how intimidated he is by the prospect of facing the Red Devils.

"It's a though draw, but they're a strong and glamorous opponent," he said at the time.

"When the name Ajax was pulled, it became quiet, and when Manchester United appeared all you heard was "wow". Some of us didn't know if it was a good thing or not.

"But we'll try to be at our best when we meet them, and enjoy the atmosphere and surroundings at Old Trafford."

Vertognhen could have more than just one reason to do well against United, with the club said to be ready to watch and report on his performance.

Why Vertonghen is hot property on the transfer market: