The large number of players linked to Manchester United in the last few weeks has been extraordinary. A hardened cynic, like this one, could not be blamed for thinking that the vast majority of them never had a hope in hell of ever going through yet there is something about the proposed move of Rafael van der Vaart from Real Madrid that seems to be a little different. A gut feeling if you like, that this time, the transfer could prove to be the real thing.
According to the latest reports from Spain, Sir Alex Ferguson is planning a £20 million offer for the 27 year old Dutch midfielder. The Holland international has been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in the past but Ferguson has allegedly earmarked the mercurial play maker as Paul Scholes’ perfect replacement at Old Trafford.
The United boss has question marks over several of his midfielders because of their age, inconsistency and injury records making van der Vaart a high quality addition. Spanish daily AS claim United are hoping the uncertainty surrounding the managerial post at the Bernabeu will aid their efforts to finally lure the Dutchman to the Premier League.
Most recently Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was linked with the former Ajax star but the Emirates supremo is currently endeavoring to keep captain Cesc Fabregas at the Gunners. van der Vaart is also known to be an avid supporter of United having stated that he has been a fan since the days of Mark Hughes.
The classy midfielder made his senior international debut for Holland against Andorra in 2001 and was a member of the squads that participated in Euro 2004 and 2008 as well as the 2006 World Cup. Niggling injuries stopped van der Vaart from being risked by Dutch coach Marco van Basten for the opening World Cup encounter against Serbia and Montenegro four years ago. With a good victory behind them, van Basten decided to keep the same lineup leaving van der Vaart a squad player for the rest of the campaign but has since become a key member of the starting line up.
The player has enjoyed a mixed season at the Bernabeu initially finding himself out of the side under Manuel Pellegrini before enjoying something of a renaissance in the latter part. The midfield playmaker was an integral member of the Real Madrid squad which pushed Barcelona all the way but reports in Spain suggest the pending arrival of the former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho may deem him surplus to requirements.
Ferguson was dealt a blow in his summer transfer plans when Everton confirmed that Jack Rodwell, who had been a long term target, had signed a new contract at Goodison Park forcing Sir Alex to explore other options in a bid to appease fans who are growing increasingly concerned by the mounting debts inflicted on the club by the Glazers. If van der Vaart is finally lured to Old Trafford, Ferguson will be hoping that he will complete a quartet of successful van signings following those of van der Gouw, van Nistelrooy and van der Sar.
Does van der Vaart has the potential to be a good signing for United?