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Rafael van der Vaart signs for Hamburg from Tottenham

Another one bites the dust: Van der Vaart latest to leave Spurs in 10m return to Hamburg

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UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has returned to Hamburg in a 10.3million deal.

The Holland playmaker has signed a three-year contract with the Bundesliga club, after flying out for a medical, and will wear the No 23 shirt that has always been associated with him at the Imtech Arena, after it unexpectedly became available.

'I am delighted that Rafael van der Vaart will be playing for Hamburg again,' said the Bundesliga club's coach Thorsten Fink. 'He will be a strong addition to our team.'

The 29-year old was such a crowd favourite in his first spell at Hamburg, from 2005 to 2008, that the club refused to give it anyone else, in the hope he would return.

Welcome back: Hamburg tweeted this picture of Rafael van der Vaart with Frank Arnesen

Welcome back: Hamburg tweeted this picture of Rafael van der Vaart with Frank Arnesen

On his way: Rafael van der Vaart is undertaking his Hamburg medical

On his way: Rafael van der Vaart is undertaking his Hamburg medical

Despairing of luring him back, they
relented last year and handed it to Slobodan Rajkovic. But the defender
had a blazing row with head coach Thorsten Fink just two months ago and
was immediately made available.

Hamburg have been unable to offload
him, despite their best efforts to fix up a permanent transfer or loan,
but have removed him from their squad list, leaving van der Vaart free
to pull on, once more, number 23.

The deal had been in the balance for
nearly a week, amid uncertainty over whether billionaire benefactor
Klaus-Michael Kuehne would bankroll it. But the 75-year old finally
agreed to loan his local club the money, and the 10.3million offer was
rubberstamped at a board meeting that only ended at 2am Friday morning.

'I can confirm that Rafael is on his way to Hamburg now for a medical,' the forward's agent Robert Geerlings said.

Van der Vaart struck 15 times in 36 appearances in his first season and then bagged 13 more goals in his second year in England. He signed for Harry Redknapp on deadline day two years ago.

Previously he spoke about a potential return to the club he spent three years at before joining Real Madrid.

He said: 'I spent three years living in Hamburg and had a wonderful time at HSV. My wife Sylvie works there and we have many friends who live in your country [Germany].'

Grand plan: Andre Villas-Boas is overhauling the club

Grand plan: Andre Villas-Boas is overhauling the club

Gylfi Sigurdsson was signed in the
summer and is a natural replacement to play behind the striker in Van
der Vaart's favoured position.

Tottenham
have boosted their midfield with the 15m purchase of Moussa Dembele
from Fulham, but also lost Luka Modric to Real Madrid.

Van der Vaart's wife Sylvie tweeted: 'Thank you Spurs, and all the fans for an amazing time!You guys have the greatest team in England. Will ♥ you always#coys Time to go home now ♥'

Tottenham have agreed a 22m deal with Porto for Joao Moutinho who will replace the Dutchman in Villas-Boas' squad.