Van der Vaart – Liverpool wanted me
Former Tottenham Hotspur star Rafael van der Vaart has claimed that Liverpool wanted to sign him when he was a teenager but he was in no mood to leave Ajax at that stage of his career.
A product of the Ajax academy, the Dutchman spent his formative years with the Dutch giants before he left the club for Hamburg in 2005.
Now 37, he went on to play in the Premier League with Tottenham, where he spent two years, and Van der Vaart has continued to remain a cult figure amongst the Spurs fanbase.
But in 2002 Liverpool wanted to sign him when he was still a teenager and the Dutchman claimed that former Reds manager Gerard Houllier personally called him to convince him to move to Merseyside.
“I was a teenager. Gerard Houllier called me saying they wanted to buy me — he said, ’I talk with Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and they’d really love to play with you and blah blah blah.’
“But I was like, ‘No! I want to stay with my parents and with Ajax. No chance. So yeah, all nice, but sorry, I’m really going to stay with my parents’. He was like, ‘No they can also come’.
“I had done just one season for Ajax. I was nothing and I really wanted to stay and win titles. I was not ready.
“Now sometimes players aged 15 or 16 go from Holland to England because they are offered big money.
“I never thought about it.”