The transfer window is suddenly going from bad to worse for Tottenham. Despite the highs that came with the signing of Hoffenheim attacker Gylfi Sigurðsson, the capture of Belgian international Jan Vertonghen and the critical but long-drawn addition of Togo striker Emmanuel Adebyaor, Spurs are set to lose Croatian midfielder Luka Modric to Spanish champions Real Madrid and that could be followed by the outbound transfer of Dutch international Rafael Van der Vaart.
The Daily Mail reports the 29 year old former Madrid star is set to complete a surprise transfer back to another old club - Bundesliga outfit Hamburg - for whom he turned out between 2005 and 2008. Van der Vaart then left the German club to join Madrid where he enjoyed mixed fortunes before being frozen out of the first team and sold to Spurs for £8m. The central attacking midfielder has had a successful time in London, where he is regarded as a fan's favourite, registering 28 goals in 77 appearances for the club.
However, Sigurðsson's arrival and immediate introduction into the central playmaker's role - normally Van der Vaart's preserve - has led the Dutchman to consider a move away from the club. The midfielder has had issues in the past with being benched, the most recent of which was at the 2012 European Championships.
Van der Vaart was not picked for the opening game of Holland's campaign, which was against Denmark. He did come on as a substitute but his behaviour towards coach Bert Van Marwijk after the match was over spoke volumes. Reports then surfaced in Dutch media, suggesting Van der Vaart, the vice captain, openly criticised his coach's tactics.
The proposed return to Germany, then, is likely to be announced after the two clubs agree on a transfer fee. Spurs are reportedly holding out for something in the region of £9m.
New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has overseen quite the clear-out at White Hart Lane since taking charge, with defenders Sebastian Bassong, Vedran Corluka and Ryan Nelsen leaving the club. Other players to have been released were French striker Louis Saha and Modric's compatriot, Niko Kranjcar.