The former Tottenham star has admitted he wanted a return to Spurs this summer.
Van der Vaart was one of the stars of Spurs during their successful years under Harry Redknapp, and he has told the Mirror that he tried to come back to Tottenham this summer, before signing with La Liga side Real Betis.
The Dutch playmaker said: “Because I didn't have a contract, I almost tried to come back [to Spurs this summer], then Betis came and I decided to come to Betis, but Tottenham was always special. But if [Spurs] had wanted me, I would have gone.”
Although the 32-year-old is not the kind of plater who would fit into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the future of Tottenham, it is hard to deny that Spurs fans would not want him back in North London.
Following his surprise move from Real Madrid to Spurs, he made 77 appearances for the club, scoring 28 goals, playing a key role in their Champions League season of 2010/11.
He quickly built a reputation at the club as a fan favourite, and he remains a cult favourite, having been wrongly sold by Andre Villas-Boas in the summer of 2012.
He would still have done a job for the club then, and the Dutch international has admitted that it was time to move on when Villas-Boas told him that he was not a first-choice player.
Van der Vaart added: “When what's his name [Andre Villas-Boas] came he said to me 'you're not my number one' and I had played two years, like, unbelievable, so for me it was really strange that he said that to me. So then I said, well, it's better to leave and that is what happened.”
Considering how impressive the midfielder had been the two seasons before Villas-Boas arrived at White Hart Lane, it was a surprise to see him kicked out of the club, and he clearly holds fond memories of his time with the Lilywhites.
Spurs may not have benefited from signing van der Vaart this summer, but he clearly wanted to return to the club, and there are no doubts he would have been appreciated had he made the switch back to White Hart Lane.