The Tottenham attacking midfielder Rafael van der Vaart maintains he has no reason to leave the club, even though they have failed to reach the Champions League next season.
Spurs' manager, Harry Redknapp, swooped for the Netherlands international in an £8m transfer from Real Madrid just as the August transfer window closed last year. It proved an inspired bit of business as the midfielder, 28, helped to guide Spurs through the group stages of a famous debut season in the Champions League, with their run eventually ended by his old club in the quarter-finals.
However, Tottenham can no longer offer Champions League football next season, although they look set to qualify for the Europa League after beating Liverpool 2-0 at the weekend.
There had been suggestions that the likes of Van der Vaart, the Croatia playmaker Luka Modric and Wales full-back Gareth Bale would all move on to play in the elite competition again.
Van der Vaart, though, insists he is happy at White Hart Lane. "I want to stay here, I think. It's great to be here. You saw how the fans were at Liverpool – so positive – and I am happy," Van der Vaart said yesterday. "Do I see myself at Tottenham for the next few years? Yeah, of course."
Van der Vaart believes that, despite being able to break into the top four of the Premier League again, Spurs can look back on the campaign with some pride, beating their arch-rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in November while recording a famous home win over Internazionale and also beating Milan 1-0 at San Siro.
"Against the big teams, we always play well but, with due respect, against the smaller teams we dropped too many points and if you do that, you don't deserve to be in the Champions League," he said. Still, we have had a great season and a long one, as well. Everyone gets tired, but when you win games like the one at Anfield, it gives you a lot of confidence.
"You want to be in the Champions League, but you want to play in the Europa League as well. It's a great title to win and it means you play at least twice most weeks, which is important. The Europa League can help our development in Europe, but you have to remember that we did well in the Champions League. Reaching the quarter-finals in our first season was fantastic."
The Birmingham City goalkeeper Ben Foster, whose side face Spurs on Sunday, has hinted he wants to remain at the club after capping his first season by being voted player of the year by his team-mates and supporters.
The Carling Cup winners could be relegated from the Premier League this weekend if they are overhauled by either Wigan Athletic or Blackpool in the final round of matches.
When asked if he would be prepared to play in the Championship, Foster said: "I want to stay at Birmingham City. I've loved this season. It's been a great season for me personally.
"I know we're in a bit of a fight at the moment and we've got a massive match on Sunday. But no one is thinking of being in the Championship next season and we need to get three points on Sunday."Reuse content