Rafael van der Vaart has admitted his Netherlands teammate Robin van Persie “spoke to Arsenal about me a few times,” but the Gunners never made an approach.
That was before the former Ajax and Real Madrid star moved to Tottenham in 2010, where he made 77 appearances and scored 28 goals.
Van der Vaart quickly became a fan favourite at White Hart Lane, emerging as the experienced attacker Spurs needed for their Champions League campaign in the 2010/11 campaign.
He scored in Tottenham’s memorable 3-1 victory over Inter Milan at the Lane, one of 15 goals he scored in all competitions during his first season in England.
But according to Van der Vaart himself, things could have been very different.
“I had several conversations with Robin van Persie, my team-mate on the Dutch side, and he had spoken to Arsenal about me a few times, but I never heard anything,” the 35-year-old told FourFourTwo.
“I didn’t regret it – joining Spurs was the best thing that happened to me.”
Despite a number of notable moments, Van der Vaart’s time at Tottenham was hindered by a persistent hamstring problem.
He scored 13 goals in his second season but left the club in the summer of 2012 when Andre Villas-Boas became manager.
The Dutchman, who has since turned out for Hamburg, Real Betis and Midtjylland, made a huge impression on the Spurs supporters in a relatively short amount of time, and will always be fondly remembered for that.