Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Van der Vaart - Money not Luka lure

Luka Modric
Luka Modric

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart believes Luka Modric's desire to leave White Hart Lane is not down to financial reasons.

The 25-year-old Croatia playmaker last month stunned Spurs supporters by declaring he wants to leave - with Chelsea his preferred destination. The north London club have rejected a £22million bid for Modric, with chairman Daniel Levy saying the player is not for sale.

However, Holland international Van der Vaart said on Sky Sports News: "If someone wants to leave it's difficult to keep them. When a player is unhappy it's not a good thing. Luka and (Gareth) Bale don't play for money - they play to win something. If they have to go to another club it's their decision."

He added: "But I hope they stay because they are fantastic and really important for the club."

Van der Vaart was speaking on the day Spurs players returned for pre-season training, seeking to make up for the disappointment of missing out on Champions League football in the forthcoming campaign.

The 28-year-old added: "Drop too many points and you don't deserve to be in the Champions League. So next season we are going to focus on the Europa League.

"As a player you want to improve every year but the important thing is to help the team. If we stay together we have a good squad."

One player who has arrived at White Hart Lane is Brad Friedel - the 40-year-old former Aston Villa and Blackburn goalkeeper having signed a two-year deal last month.

He joins Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini on Spurs' books, and Van der Vaart said: "I had a chat with him (Friedel) and he's a really nice guy.

"I think he's going to help us. We now have three fantastic goalkeepers."

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