Van der Vaart important to Villas-Boas

Rafael van der VaartTottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has stated that Rafael van der Vaart is an important player at the club, but was not conclusive on whether he would be sold this August.

The Netherlands international has been linked with a move to Hamburg, with the Portuguese coach streamlining his White Hart Lane squad.

Villas-Boas has insisted that the Dutch maestro was someone to count on, but was not convincing when depicting where the attacker’s future lies.

“He’s a player I obviously count on,” Villas-Boas told reporters, published in The Telegraph.

“Rafa was very unlucky because when he came back from his vacation after the Euros he got injured in the game against LA Galaxy so he missed most of our pre-season in America.

“He was a player that came back to us late so the selection was pretty straightforward for Gylfi Sigurdsson in the game against Newcastle. Now Rafa has trained with us all week and he’s looking strong and is in contention.

“He’s a player of great importance for us. I’m not sure if Hamburg are interested but he’s a player who at the moment is not for sale.

“In football you never know. Anything can happen but he’s a player we are counting on. This is football. If I let Rafa go it’s because I’ve allowed him to go. It’s not because someone is forcing me to,” he admitted.

Spurs have been linked with moves for Internacional’s Leandro Damiao and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian, with a deal for the latter appearing more likely.

“Leandro is a fantastic player but he is not our prospect at the moment because we are closed with what we are trying to do on the striker situation.

“Willian is a player that I was interested in last year – an extremely talented player. I wouldn’t want to go very deep because I feel it would be disrespectful to Shakhtar,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight