Harry Redknapp to raid Hamburg for Rafael van der Vaart
QPR, 9/2 for a top 10 finish, are reportedly interested in reuniting Hamburg star Rafael van der Vaart with former boss, and current Hoops coach, Harry Redknapp.
The pair worked together for two seasons, from 2010 to 2012, when then Tottenham manager Redknapp snapped up the Dutchman, who had become surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, for £8m.
Ex-Ajax attacker Van der Vaart was a firm fan favourite at White Hart Lane, becoming a goal hero after netting 28 times in 78 outings for the north London side. However, he was sold to former club Hamburg after only playing two games under Redknapp’s successor Andre Villas-Boas.
Van der Vaart’s second stint in Germany has not been as successful as the first, when the midfield meastro had a fine record of 48 goals in 112 appearances, earning him a move to Madrid. Hamburg were embroiled in a relegation battle last term, only securing their prestigious Bundesliga status through the play-offs, with their top playmaker struggling to make an impact.
Despite having only scored 13 times in the last two seasons, Redknapp still believes “He’d get you 10 to 12 goals a year”, and seems keen to release Van der Vaart from his supposed Hamburg strife.
At 31 years of age, any potential transfer could well be his last. It may be prudent for Van der Vaart to move back to a league he has already excelled in, as well as to a coach who seems to hold him in high regard.
Redknapp was effusive in his praise for the former Spurs star, saying: “He’s a great footballer, great professional and a goal-scorer…an interesting player and has got class.”
The Hoops boss’ statements have further fuelled rumours he intends to lure his former charge to Loftus Road, to work with fellow new recruits Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker.
QPR, 2/1 to be relegated, are in urgent need of reinforcements in attack, with Adel Taarabt and Loic Remy’s futures still unclear, making Van der Vaart an ideal signing.
With only one year left on his current contract, and the clock ticking down on his Hamburg career, the German giants may be cajoled into selling. Considering his probable lack of resale value, wheeler-dealer Redknapp could also prise the midfield orchestrator away from the Imtech Arena for a bargain price.
Questions remain over the Dutch international’s durability and fitness, though, and whether he could now stay injury-free for a full, physically demanding Premier League season.
Van der Vaart has scored 25 times for his nation, including four in his last six caps in 2013, but was unable to take his place in Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad due to a calf injury.