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Could Rafa Return To Hamburg?

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Schalke 04, rumored to be interested in Rafael Van der Vaart as a Raul replacement throughout the summer, won't be pursuing him. Schalke CEO Clemens Tönnies is done chasing Rafa, with the likely transfer fee and VDV's requested wages probably a bit too rich for his blood. Here's his quote on the matter, via The Guardian.

"If we had really wanted to have him [Van der Vaart], then we would have got him," Tönnies said. "But it didn't make any sense because we were miles apart. The topic is over."

Of course, that doesn't mean we're done hearing about Van der Vaart rumors for the rest of the summer. His former club, Hamburg SV, are still very interested in signing him. Whether or not that's actually practical for them remains to be seen, but that won't stop the papers from linking the two together.

Hamburg's current sporting director is Frank Arnesen, the former director of football at Tottenham Hotspur. He wants to bring Rafa back to the club, but how realistic that is for Hamburg is anyone's guess. He could just be saying that it sure would be nice to bring in a great player and borderline club legend, or his interest could be serious.

While HSV probably have £10m to pay for a transfer fee and £70k per week to give him in wages, they're not a ridiculously rich club who can throw these numbers around without heavy consideration. Their squad isn't deep, and it isn't loaded with quality either. They spent a long time contending with the big boys in the top half of the table in the 2000s, but I don't expect them to do that this year. Signing Rafa isn't going to make them better than Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart instantly.

Unless Hamburg is dipping into their reserves and spending big to completely re-vamp their squad, they're probably better served spending that money they would spend on Rafa on 2-3 solid young players instead. I don't expect this to go anywhere, but the rumors won't be dying anytime soon.