Van der Vaart delight at Spurs switch
Published 23:00 01/09/10 By Darren Lewis
Ecstatic Rafael van der Vaart last night spoke of his joy at completing his move to "beautiful" Tottenham.
The 27-year-old Dutch superstar, who played in the World Cup Final with Holland two months ago, was the stellar signing on Deadline Day with Spurs fans delighted at his bargain last-minute £8million capture.
But highly-talented Van der Vaart is equally overjoyed at moving to Tottenham, underlining the club's rapidly rising status now that they have reached the Champions League group stages.
There he will add vital experience and quality as the north Londoners bid to progress from a group including holders Inter Milan, experienced Germans Werder Bremen and FC Twente, rivals of Van der Vaart's former club Ajax.
While Spurs and Real Madrid were involved in a war of words over how he came to be available for only £8m and the paperwork was finally approved by the Premier League yesterday, the playmaker was already toasting the four year deal.
Van der Vaart said: "Four years at Spurs, for £8million, I can hardly believe it myself.
"It's a pity I cannot now play against Ajax in the Champions League but I will get to face FC Twente.
"I am excited about playing in England. Whether it suits my style remains to be seen, but I think a good footballer can adapt and I am very proud of this transfer."
The midfielder joined the famous Ajax academy as a 10-year old and progressed trough the ranks alongside fellow Dutch internationals Wesley Sneijder and Everton star Johnny Heitinga.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp revealed on Tuesday that the deal to sign Van der Vaart had come about after the player had been offered to chairman Daniel Levy in a beat-the-deadline deal.
After making 141 appearances, scoring 50 goals and landing two league titles and one domestic cup, Van der Vaart eventually left Ajax for Hamburg in June 2005.
Playing in a more advanced role, he scored an impressive 48 goals during his three seasons in the Bundesliga, earning himself a lucrative move to Real Madrid in August 2008.
After a flying start that included a debut goal against Numancia and a career-first hat-trick in the 7-1 demolition of Sporting GijÃ³n, Van der Vaart struggled to make an impression at the Bernebeu.
Former Spurs boss Juande Ramos tended to use the Dutchman as an impact substitute while his successor Manuel Pellegrini initially dismissed Van der Vaart altogether and refused to give him a squad number at the start of the 2009-10 season.
Undaunted, the playmaker fought his way back into the Chilean's plans. But although new Real boss Jose Mourinho moved quickly to snap up another of Real's cast-offs - Wesley Sneijder - for Inter Milan last summer, he could find no room in his squad this time for Van der Vaart.
As a result, and having snapped up Germany World Cup stars Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen and Sami Khedira from Stuttgart, Mourinho made Van der Vaart available for transfer.
The speed of a deal came as a surprise to the player, who said: "The interest from Tottenham came very quick and I did not have much time to think.
"But I want to play football again and if possible every week, with a beautiful club. I'm totally happy."
Van der Vaart's signing - and the fee for which he has arrived - compensates for Tottenham's failure to land Joe Cole on a free transfer from Chelsea earlier this summer.
It is also another feather in the cap for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, having clinched the signing of another experienced campaigner, William Gallas, last month.