• Defender sprains ankle ligaments in Hong Kong game
• Vertonghen turned awkwardly on treacherous surface
Jan Vertonghen faces a race to be fit for the new season after a scan on the Tottenham Hotspur defender revealed he sprained ankle ligaments after slipping in Wednesday's 3-1 defeat by Sunderland in the Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final at the Hong Kong Stadium.
If the Belgian does not recover in time, the absence of a key defender will represent a sizeable blow, with the manager, André Villas-Boas, aiming to guide Spurs to a Champions League place.
The heavy storm that hit the former British colony before the game led to fears the match would be called off but a decision was made to reduce both halves to 40 minutes. Vertonghen, on as a substitute, turned awkwardly on the sodden surface and could not continue.
The result of the scan on Thursday ruled him out of Saturday's third-place play-off game and whether he will be fit for the start of the Premier League campaign on 18 August against Crystal Palace is in the balance, with Tottenham's medical team waiting to see how the 26-year-old responds to treatment.
Gareth Bale, however, is in contention to feature in the third-place match. He is back in light training after injuring his right buttock last week. Despite speculation that Real Madrid want to buy him, Spurs are standing firm that he will not be allowed to leave this summer.
Bale injured his buttock while taking a shot with his right foot in training but, after missing the defeat by Sunderland, he may be available for selection.
His team-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson believes it is vital Spurs keep the Wales international. "He's a great player and if he stays it will be fantastic," said the midfielder at the Premier League Community Festival in Hong Kong.
He also believes Bale can help attract players to the club, including Valencia's striker Roberto Soldado, the current principal target. Sigurdsson said: "Good players want to play with other big players. It's a big club and hopefully he'll stay and we'll bring in a few other good players."
Sigurdsson added that the squad are more determined than ever to qualify for the Champions League after missing out by a point to Arsenal last season and to Chelsea the year before.
"It was tough to pick ourselves up after missing out twice," he said. "It was very disappointing for the first couple of weeks but then you start thinking about the next season and focus on getting ready for when the first game is. We are strengthening as well. But we think we'll have a good season and hopefully we can get in the Champions League."