Van der Vaart 'would have joined Arsenal'

Tottenham Hotspur’s summer signing Rafael Van der Vaart has confessed that he would have loved the opportunity to play for Arsenal, had Arsene Wenger made a move for him last year.

The 27-year-old Dutch international went on to join the Gunners' fierce North London rivals for around £8millon on the final day of the summer transfer window, and has made a hugely impressive start to life at White Hart Lane, scoring four goals in his opening six games.

However, he has since revealed that he rejected Spurs' advances 12 months ago, in the hope that another European heavyweight would attempt to sign him instead.

“I would have moved to Bayern München, but they weren't interested,” revealed Van der Vaart.

"Arsenal? Yes of course, that would have been fantastic.”

The Dutchman had been forced to re-consider his future at Real Madrid after being dropped from the first team.

However, Van der Vaart decided to stay in the Spanish capital to ensure his wife could continue her treatment for breast cancer.

Now content playing his football at Spurs, the player has confessed why he stayed at Madrid last year.

“When Madrid sold Arjen Robben [to Bayern] and Wesley Sneijder [to Inter] they asked me whether I would like to stay - I would even get my No. 23 shirt back.”

Ultimately, Van der Vaart's first-team opportunities remained limited at the Bernabeu, and when Tottenham came calling, the lure of Champions League football finally convinced the player to join Harry Redknapp’s side.

"What I went through is part of football - but it wasn't nice,” Van der Vaart commented philosophically.

"Football is best when you're 10 years old."

By Alex Neary