Harry Redknapp’s era at Tottenham was arguably defined by two players in Luka Modric and Gareth Bale.
The duo eventually went on to join Spanish giants Real Madrid, a real testament to how good of a players they were. But in that squad that famously reached the Champions League, one man who may have gone under the radar, was Rafael van der Vaart.
The Dutchman joined the Lilywhites for £8m on deadline day in the summer of 2010, and enjoyed a very fruitful period at the club. The north London side had secured major coup in bringing him to the Premier League after he had helped the Netherlands reach the World Cup final during that summer.
And in the 77 total games that he ended up playing for the club, he scored 28 goals and provided a further 18 assists. Some of those strikes were particularly crucial, and it was a sign of how the mercurial midfielder often stole the show on the big occasion.
In the north London derbies, Van der Vaart invariably stepped up his game in particular. In the four games that he played against Arsenal in the Premier League, he scored four times and provided two assists, with the 3-2 victory away at the Emirates and the 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane the two big stand-outs.
The win against Arsene Wenger’s side saw him have a hand in all three of Spurs’ goals, scoring once and setting up the other two, whilst he netted a brace in the return fixture in that 2010/2011 season.
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In contrast, Luka Modric never scored against the Gunners, whilst his total record for the club saw him score just 17 times and provide 27 assists in more than double the amount of games Van der Vaart played – 160.
For just £8m, Van der Vaart was an absolute steal on the part of Redknapp. The club did the deal on deadline day, and in the end, saw him outshine Modric certainly in terms of scoring and making goals for Spurs. The former Spurs boss deserves a lot of credit for getting the Dutchman in.