Hamburg close in on Sorin signing

August 30, 2006

BERLIN, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Hamburg SV are close to finalising a deal for Villarreal's Argentine defender Juan Pablo Sorin, according to German media reports.

Sorin, who captained Argentina at the World Cup in Germany this year, had a medical in Hamburg on Wednesday.

Hamburg coach Thomas Doll told reporters: "He's a world class player with extensive international experience. He wants to play in the Champions League."

Hamburg clinched their place in the group phase of the Champions League after beating another Spanish club, Osasuna, in the final qualifying round.

They will play Arsenal, Porto and CSKA Moscow in Group G.

Villarreal reached the semi-finals of the competition last season but failed to qualify this time.

Hamburg's run to third place in the Bundesliga last season was largely down to the strength of a defence featuring Daniel van Buyten and Khalid Boulahrouz, both of whom have since been sold.

To compensate, Hamburg have signed Dutchman Joris Mathijsen from AZ Alkmaar and Belgium's Vincent Kompany from Anderlecht.