Report: Sporting Kansas City in talks with ex-Tottenham star Rafael van der Vaart

The MLS club's management are reported to have travelled to Germany to meet with the Hamburg skipper about a potential move to the States.

Sporting Kansas City are in talks with former Tottenham Hotspur star Rafael van der Vaart about a move to MLS, according to Bild.

Van der Vaart, 32, is out of contract with Hamburg in the summer and, though the club have stated that a decision will not be made on his future until the end of this month, the Hamburg Morgenpost have reported that the chances of an extension are low.

The Dutchman himself told reporters [per ESPN] in January on his future: “Everything’s open. What happens after June is not in my hands. But I don’t feel any pressure. I am totally relaxed.”

Returning to Hamburg from Spurs in August 2012, following a previous spell between 2005 and 2008, Van der Vaart has since scored 18 goals in 75 total appearances for the Bundesliga side, while also adding 21 assists.

Named club captain for a second time in April 2013, the creative midfielder has long-been considered a hero at the Imtech Arena, but has seen his performances this season split opinion among the fanbase, with some believing his time to be up.

Manager Josef Zinnebauer has even dropped him to the bench for the past two matches, despite the team being mired in a relegation battle in 15th-place, with the move regarded as the final nail in the coffin of his Hamburg career.

Sporting KC’s interest in Van der Vaart has in fact been made public earlier this winter, with CEO Robb Heineman firing off the following tweet amid rumours of a potential big-name addition:

Heineman further fuelled rumours of a potential approach at the weekend, with Bild reporting that the MLS club’s official had travelled to Germany for talks coming after another direct reference to the ex-Spurs ace:

Van der Vaart has netted four goals in 16 Bundesliga games for Hamburg this season, despite often being used in a deeper role, but has managed the full 90 minutes on just three occasions as he starts to creep up in age.

The Netherlands international has also been dealing with nagging calf problems of late, which forced him to withdraw from Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad, but there’s little doubt that he can still produce moments of the class which saw him star for both Ajax and Real Madrid in the past.

Ajax boss Frank de Boer made it known last month that he would be welcome back, but Van der Vaart has since cooled speculation of a return, telling Hamburger Abendblatt: “I am always linked to Ajax whenever they lose a match."

A lucrative switch across the States is thought to pose a tempting proposition, however, and, with the MLS transfer window closing on April 15, Bild have suggested that the 109-times capped Dutchman could be released from his contract to allow him to make an immediate move.

It remains to be seen whether those claims will hold true, but even a mid-season arrival would prove an enormous boost to SKC’s hopes of adding a third MLS Cup title to the ones claimed in 2000 and 2013.

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