MADRID - AFP
Atletico Madrid has offered 15 million euros ($23.5 million) for Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, Spanish sports daily AS reported yesterday. The 25-year-old Dutch international "is the man who Atletico are looking for to close the chapter on their recruitment," the newspaper wrote. Atletico's sports director Jesus Garcia Pitarch confirmed the club's interest in the midfielder on Tuesday during the official presentation of its latest recruit, French keeper Gregory Coupet from Lyon. "There could be interest in other players like van der Vaart but these are players with strong potential who are very expensive," he said, adding there had been some contact with Valencia over its striker David Villa. Van der Vaart said in an interview published in January that he would like to join a Spanish club at a time when Italian side Juventus Turin appeared well positioned to recruit him.