Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is an integral part of the club's plans for the imminent season, despite continued speculation over his future, says Andre Villas-Boas.

The 29-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to the Bundesliga, with the Dutchman's former club Hamburg weighing up a bid to bring him back to Germany.

Van deer Vaart enjoyed a successful three-year spell there, scoring 29 goals in 74 appearances between 2005 and 2008, and was believed to be considering a return following the sacking of former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp last month.

Villas-Boas has conceded that Croatian playmaker Luka Modric is likely to leave White Hart Lane before the start of the new campaign, but insists the situation is different for his Holland international.

"With Van der Vaart, at the moment I am absolutely counting on him," confirmed the former Chelsea and Porto boss. "It is a totally different situation from Luka, who has been chased by different clubs in the past two seasons and is continuing to drag interest.

"We have to make sure the club's interests are met, and it is up to the chairman to decide that."

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: