Rafael van der Vaart has finally spoken of his Real Madrid heartache which paved his path to White Hart Lane.
Talking exclusively to Sunday Mirror Sport, the Spurs sensation revealed that as a boy he dreamed of playing for one of Spain’s top clubs, but that the presidential elections at the Bernabeu lead to his exile from the first team, not even being given a squad number at the start of the 2008-09 season.
However, when the opportunity to leave presented itself the Dutchman knew it was time to go. He said: “I feared I would break my grandfather’s heart leaving but he gave me his blessing. He told me he knew I was a good player and not to stay where I wasn’t wanted. He said go and find your love somewhere else. When I told him I was going to Tottenham he was so happy.
“And I couldn’t be happier in my life. Tottenham is a great club. The players are fantastic and so down to earth. And it helps to play for a manager like Harry Redknapp who has so much belief in you.”
Pienaar deal nears.
Spurs are finally said to be in pole position for Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, according to Sky Sports.
The 28-year-old’s representatives are thought to be in London thrashing out a deal between the parties involved, after talks with Chelsea fell apart due to the player pricing himself out of a move to Stamford Bridge.
Several of Europe’s top clubs are also interested but the South African international is keen to remain in England – implying that his move from Goodison Park to White Hart Lane is imminent.
Harry eyes duo.
Harry Redknapp is targeting Premier League old boys Lassana Diarra and Gabriel Heinze, with Mirror Football also reporting that the club hope to offload Wilson Palacios.
The former Wigan midfielder has attracted interest from Stoke and Wolves, and Redknapp has been promised that the money made from the player’s sale would go towards new signings – but their £8m valuation could prove a stumbling block.
Diarra, who played under Redknapp at Portsmouth prior to his move to Real Madrid, has been told he can leave the Bernabeu. Boss Jose Mourinho sees him as surplus to requirements.
Ex-Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze, who also played for Real Madrid before moving to Marseille, will be out of contract in the summer meaning Redknapp could snap the player up for a cut-price in January or on a free in the summer.