Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Van der Vaart - Money not Luka lure

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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