AC Milan to make a January swoop for Spurs star

AC Milan will make a £12million move for Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart when the transfer window reopens in January.

And it seems increasingly likely that Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp will not stand in the Dutchman’s way as the relationship between the pair has become ­increasingly strained.

The 28-year-old Holland international arrived in a blaze of glory on the August transfer deadline day 2010 from Real Madrid.

His impressive form and eye for goal led many critics to describe him as the ­bargain buy of the season.

Yet the very reason that Jose Mourinho was prepared to let Van der Vaart leave the Bernabeu is now becoming a major headache for ­Redknapp as he looks for a fourth place finish in the Premier League this season and a valuable return to the ­Champions League.

Mourinho felt accommodating Van der Vaart baldy restricted his striking ­options as the Dutchman preferred to sit just behind a lone striker. He also felt that Van de Vaart was a luxury player and too much of a free spirit.

Despite those drawbacks Tottenham splashed out £8 million to take him to White Hart Lane. And it was claimed at the time that Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, was more influential in the deal than Redknapp.

The Spurs manager was frequently forced to employ a 4-4-1-1 system last season to accommodate Van der Vaart behind the sole striker leading to widespread ­frustration among his key strikers.

But an untimely injury to Van der Vaart in the ­opening game of this campaign against Manchester City, and the loan arrival of ­Emmanuel Adebayor, has led ­Redknapp to change his ­tactical ­approach.

He now prefers to play Togo international Adebayor alongside a revitalised ­Jermain Defoe. Van der Vaart’s frustrations boiled over when he was omitted from ­Redknapp’s Europa League squad and criticised the club for failing to consult him.

The Dutchman played and scored in yesterday’s win at Wigan, but only started ­because Defoe was taken ill before the game. Earlier he ­confided in international team-mates that he is fed up being overlooked by the manager.

More damaging though is a text message Van der Vaart sent to ­Holland team-mate Theo Janssen, who has found himself in a similar situation at Ajax.

Janssen said: “I was taken off in the Champions League against Olympique Lyon and I was really angry. The next moment I received a text ­message from Rafael, who said he was wondering if I happened to have the same contract as he has at Spurs.

“I asked him what kind of contract that was? He ­answered: ‘One which states that you are only allowed to play 70 minutes in each match.’”

It was clearly a dig at Redknapp. To add further fuel to the Milan fire Van der Vaart’s beautiful wife, ­Sylvie, already appears to be preparing for life in Italy.

She has a good career as a TV ­presenter and actress on the ­continent. She was voted ­Germany’s ‘Media Woman of the Year’ and is now planning to conquer Italy. To pave the way she has done a big photo shoot with one of Italy’s most ­popular magazines.

Milan may prove a popular destination for both Van der Vaarts.