Calhanoglu and VdV eye Hamburg exits
Hamburg midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Hakan Calhanoglu could be set to leave the club this summer.
Die Rothosen only had their Bundesliga status confirmed on Sunday after beating 2. Bundesliga outfit Greuther Fuerth on away goals in the relegation playoff.
The club is now preparing for a crucial general meeting on Sunday, where the "HSV Plus" concept -- mooted in January -- will be put to a vote. "HSV Plus," if waved through, will turn the professional football department of the club into a limited company.
The general meeting, however, has been overshadowed by speculation that Van der Vaart and Calhanoglu want to force an exit from the club.
Calhanoglu scored 11 goals in his debut season in the Bundesliga and was one of the rare bright sparks for Hamburg.
The 20-year-old is believed to be wanted by Bayer Leverkusen, and he took to Twitter on Wednesday to suggest that he is keen to move to a club that can offer European football.
"To play Champions League [football] this early is a dream," Calhanoglu, who signed a new Hamburg contract until 2018 in February, wrote.
The Turkey international's comments have caused outrage from both fans and club officials.
"We know that Hakan has a contract and we will respect that," Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller told kicker.
However, Calhanoglu then made his feelings clear when speaking to Sport Bild about his future.
"I want to get as far as Cristiano Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi. I also want to be a world star everyone talks about," he said.
"I have told them that I want to leave, no matter if we play in the first or second league."
Meanwhile, Van der Vaart, who endured a difficult season, could also be on his way out of the club.
Besiktas were linked with the midfielder recently, and he has now been given the green light by influential billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne to move on.
Kuehne plays a central role in the "HSV Plus" plans, and has already assisted Hamburg in 2012, when Van der Vaart returned to the club from White Hart Lane. The transfer was only made possible by an eight million euro loan from Kuehne.
"I will not stand in the way of Rafael and a possible transfer," Kuehne told Bild. "Rafael needs clarity about where he'll play next season as soon as possible. He should not waste any thoughts on that when he travels to Brazil to play a successful World Cup with Netherlands."
Elsewhere, midfielders Robert Tesche and Tomas Rincon have not received new contract offers from Hamburg, and are set to leave the club on free transfers.