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Rafael van der Vaart has admitted he spoke to Robin van Persie about the chance to join Arsenal from Real Madrid, but he never heard anything back from the club.
Speaking to FourFourTwo this week, the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder revealed that there was some truth to the media rumours about a possible move from Real Madrid to Arsenal. However, despite van Persie trying to help to get his national teammate a transfer, the Gunners clearly decided against it.
“Yeah, it did get mentioned,” van der Vaart said. “I had several conversations with Robin van Persie, my team-mate with the Dutch side, and he’d spoken to Arsenal about me a few times, but I never heard anything.”
In the end, the Dutchman ended up moving to Tottenham Hotspur instead, which he insists he doesn’t regret. However, that spell only lasted two years, before van der Vaart returned to one of his former clubs, Hamburger SV.
During his brief spell with Tottenham, the midfielder actually had some success against Arsenal. He scored four goals in four games against the Gunners, despite his final North London derby being the first of the two famous 5-2 embarrassments at the Emirates Stadium.
However, van der Vaart insists upping his game against Arsenal was nothing personal, he just wanted to endear himself to the Tottenham fans as much as possible.
“I never had anything against Arsenal,” he began. “But when I joined Spurs I tried to learn about the club’s traditions and I soon found out about the magnitude of the match. I always try to immerse myself in the emotions of the fans, and in the derbies against Arsenal I tried to give Spurs fans a little bit of their pride back.”
To be honest, that’s what you expect from anyone involved in the North London derby. It’s pretty difficult not to understand the importance of the match. Let’s hope for a couple of big wins in the two fixtures next month.