This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Manchester City scored in stoppage time to be crowned champions for the first time in 44 years as they beat Queen’s Park Rangers to snatch the Premier League title away from Manchester United on goal difference.
If you cast your mind back to 2012, Tottenham Hotspur were firmly in contention for the title, although history has long since forgotten them.
Tottenham began the campaign with a pair of disappointing defeats to both Manchester clubs before bouncing back with a remarkable run of 31 points from a possible 33 which spurred the Lilywhites into life.
Ultimately they came up short, as back-to-back defeats to United and Arsenal triggered a collapse in February which all but ended their hopes and dreams, yet this was a season where legends were made.
After arriving from Real Madrid on deadline day in 2010, Rafael van der Vaart’s Spurs spell was short but sweet. Daniel Levy made a surprise move to sign the midfielder just two hours before the transfer window closed and he managed to get the deal over the line, although this wasn’t without controversy.
Technology problems caused a discrepancy, which led to a nervous wait. However, the club were reassured after the Premier League sanctioned the signing following an investigation into the claims.
Van der Vaart’s arrival coincided with the club’s first ever Champions League campaign. It is fair to say the 27-year-old carried the burden of expectations on his shoulders, as he had just helped his country to reach the World Cup final.
Harry Redknapp had developed a habit for getting the best out of players who were arguably past their prime – Paolo di Canio being an obvious example. In a bizarre twist of fate, Van der Vaart had been deemed surplus to requirements by then-Madrid boss Jose Mourinho, who is now in charge of Tottenham.
The Dutchman, affectionately known as ‘Rafa’, didn’t allow this to deter him and subsequently scored on his home debut against Wolves. He went on to score three goals in his first four Premier League games. He finished his first season at White Hart Lane with 15 goals to his name, forming a potent partnership with Peter Crouch, who had created eight of those efforts.
Van der Vaart missed his chance to write his name in the history books after he saw his penalty saved in the club’s first home game in the Champions League against FC Twente, but quickly made amends almost immediately after the break to set Spurs up for a famous 4-1 victory.
This sparked a memorable run in the competition, including the iconic back-and-forth games with Inter Milan, opening the scoring in the second game at the Lane before Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko added the extras. Gareth Bale gets most of the credit for that night but it was actually his teammate who got the ball rolling.
He established himself as a cult hero at the club as he developed a penchant for scoring against Arsenal. In fact, he ended up bagging four goals and three assists against the Gunners in as many games in the Premier League.
Van der Vaart scored another 13 goals in the 2011/12 season before returning to his former side Hamburg.
The fact he achieved so much in such a short space of time is quite remarkable, as it was reflected by his market value, which skyrocketed from £13.5m in August 2010 to £22.5m by February 2012 (stats provided by Transfermarkt).
While his time at Tottenham was ultimately cut short, as it was inextricably linked to Redknapp’s sacking in the summer of 2012, fans will never forget his heroics in front of the home crowd for many years to come.
Levy, forever the businessman, managed to sell him for £10.3m, making a tidy profit in the process.
All things considered, signing Van der Vaart turned out to be a fantastic decision by the Spurs chairman, as he played a key part in several priceless moments in the club’s history during a two-year stint, before being sold for £2m more than what they initially paid for him.
Tottenham fans, do you think Rafael van der Vaart was a shrewd signing by Daniel Levy? Have your say by commenting below!
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