Former Tottenham favourite Rafael van der Vaart admits interest in MLS move

Van Der Vaart

The Dutch playmaker is set to leave Hamburg in the summer and has been linked to Sporting Kansas City.

Amid interest from Sporting Kansas City, former Tottenham Hotspur star Rafael van der Vaart has told Kicker that he “can imagine playing in America”.

Van der Vaart, 32, is out of contract with Hamburg in the summer and the Bundesliga side's director of sport Dietmar Beiersdorfer revealed at the weekend on the club's website that he will not be offered a new deal.

Sporting KC’s interest in the Dutch midfielder has been no secret over recent weeks, with club officials even travelling to Europe last month for talks over a potential move, where Bild claimed that a €4.3 million-per-season offer was put on the table.

Speaking to MLSSoccer.com following the meeting, SKC CEO Robb Heineman said: “If we can get that done, we'd like to get it done. He'd be a July move – maybe earlier. I don't know if Hamburg would let him out early. There's a lot of things to work out with him.

“It isn't a money issue. It's more around some family things. He's got a son in Hamburg, obviously, and he's got a father who travels to a lot of his games, and so we've got to accommodate some of those things.

“So if we can work those things out, we'll have him.”

FutbolMLS.com had since claimed that a pre-contract for two-and-a-half seasons had even been agreed between the two sides but, while those claims now seem to have been premature, the ex-Ajax and Real Madrid ace admits that a move to MLS is a serious option.

"Everything's open at the moment, but I can imagine playing in America. I want to keep playing at a good level for a few years,” he told the German football magazine.

"No matter how the season ends, it was clear that I would not prolong but HSV is and always will be my club. I hope that I'll be able to return in a few years – that's how it looks right now."

Returning to Hamburg from Tottenham in August 2012, following a previous spell between 2005 and 2008, Van der Vaart has since scored 18 times in 78 total appearances for the German outfit, while also adding 21 assists.

Named club captain for a second time in April 2013, the Netherlands international has grabbed five goals in 20 games this season from a deeper midfield role, despite struggling with a nagging calf problem, but is now seeing his first-team minutes reduced ahead of his planned departure.

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