In possibly the least endearing interview ever, White Hart Lane’s new favourite player, Rafael Van Der Vaart told the media that he would have loved to have moved to Arsenal or Bayern Munich—had the opportunity presented itself. He told the News of the World: “I would have moved to Bayern Munich, but they weren't interested… Arsenal? Yes of course, that would have been fantastic.”
It was also revealed that he rejected Tottenham’s advances a year ago, in favour of staying in Spain so that his wife could continue her chemotherapy for breast cancer, but had Arsenal been making the moves, he would have begun playing in North London a year ago.
Now I’m not a PR manager, but I can’t help but think that these are exactly the kind of comments that Tottenham fans will not want to hear. Many have viewed his move to Tottenham as proof that they have moved onto a higher plateau of clubs, but to hear him talk so enthusiastically about Tottenham’s more successful rivals suggests otherwise.
Compare it to Carlos Vela’s 2008 comments about fellow Mexican and Spurs player Giovanni Dos Santos: “He is a very good player and let's hope he can then move on to a better team.” This was made shortly after all the kafuffle with his work permit had ended, and he was able to join up with the squad. These comments immediately endeared him to the Arsenal faithful, he had clearly done his research and was glad to be joining the Gunners.
Perhaps Van Der Vaart is making his footballing ambitions clear? Now that Tottenham are a Champions League team, and he can play in the first team, it is a good move to show how skillful a player he is. But if he has a great season, and Tottenham don’t qualify for the Champions League again—let’s be honest, even with Van Der Vaart, it won’t be easy —then will he want to move on again?
While I might have experienced a smidgen of schadenfreude on reading his quotes, I felt a lot of sympathy and pity too. In recent times, Arsenal fans have been treated to a steady stream of world-class talent, from Dennis Bergkamp to Thierry Henry, and now Cesc Fabregas. In comparison, Spurs have had to put up with a stream of expensive under achievers, and now that they do have someone with world class talent, they deserve to keep him.