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Real to sign £10m Dutchman: Chase for Manchester United superstar over?

Bundesliga club Hamburg SV have confirmed that their Dutch midfield star is moving closer to joining some of his countrymen by signing for Real Madrid. Is this the end of their chase for a certain Man United player – at least for a few months?

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Real have been chasing Hamburg’s midfield maestro Rafael van der Vaart for the past couple of months, a pursuit that has been overshadowed by the boring and inactive Ronaldo saga. Hamburg have rejected several bids from Los Blancos for the 25-year-old attacking midfielder, starting as low as €6 million (£4.7m). However, the race to bolster the midfield at the Santiago Bernabéu has stepped up a gear due to yesterday’s knee injury to van der Vaart’s Holland colleague, Wesley Sneijder. This has prompted Madrid to balloon their bid to €13 million (£10.2m).

Hamburg are eager to get the best price for their star asset, while they also have to consider a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for just €1.5 million (£1.1m) in 12 months time. In joining Madrid, van der Vaart would be in good company with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Royston Drenthe, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder.

As the two teams met during this weekend’s Emirates Cup in London, representatives of the two sides discussed the transfer. A spokesperson for Hamburg stated:

Our chairman [Bernd Hoffmann] held talks with Real Madrid during the Emirates Cup.

Nothing has yet been signed, but we expect things to move on during the course of today.

With Madrid moving for van der Vaart, could the long-running pursuit of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo be called off? The idea is one that would be welcomed in Manchester.

The idea that Real will call off a move for Ronaldo by signing van der Vaart is reinforced by a statement by Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster, printed in AS last week:

Ronaldo is the best in the world at the moment, but if we cannot sign him then I would be just as happy with van der Vaart.

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