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 By John Duerden

Rafael van der Vaart offered 2018 move to Indonesia's Bali United - report

Terens Puhiri turned on the jets as he outran nearly everyone on the opposing team in the Indonesian first division.

Dutch master Rafael van der Vaart could be the latest big name to head to Indonesia.

The 34-year-old, who is on the books of Denmark's FC Midtjylland, is being chased by Bali United, according to Indonesian media outlet, Bolasport.

The club has a strong Netherlands connection. Indonesia's Dutch-born international Stefano Lilipaly is reportedly acting as a go-between with the former Real Madrid midfielder, who has yet to appear in Denmark this season.

Bali president Pieter Tanuri admitted to reporters that there could be some big signings on the way, although he refused to name any names.

"We've got some players lined up who I think are excellent," Pieter said. "We do not want to announce anything yet as we are concerned about competition, but the time to announce them will be exciting."

Bali finished second in the just-completed 2017 Liga 1 season. They are looking to strengthen in an attempt to make it through the qualification stages of the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Rafael van der Vaart, left, has yet to appear for Danish club FC Midtjylland this season.

In 2017, the islanders did not follow the likes of some other Liga 1 teams in signing famous foreign veterans, which brought mixed results to rival clubs.

Persib Bandung brought in ex-Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien and former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole. Didier Zokora, once of Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla, went to Semen Padang.

Former Liverpool and Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko spent the year at Mitra Kukar while ex-Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion winger Peter Odemwingie had a fine season at Madura United.

Last month, Van der Vaart told Press Association that he was keen to return to his former English club Tottenham Hotspur as a coach.

He spent two seasons at Tottenham, scoring 24 goals in 63 Premier League games, after joining from Real Madrid on deadline day in Aug. 2010.

He quickly became a crowd favourite at White Hart Lane and has since said he regrets leaving the club to return to Hamburg in 2012.

Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.


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