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Hamburg still in the hunt for Van der Vaart

Hamburg have not given up on re-signing Rafael van der Vaart from Tottenham in a last-minute transfer coup.

Hamburg boss Thorsten Fink has been searching Europe for a new central midfielder and Van der Vaart, who played for Hamburg from 2005 and 2008, has been heavily linked with a return.

Bild reports that Fink and director of sport Frank Arnesen have already been in talks with Spurs about the Dutchman's availability.

Arnesen, though, was coy when asked before Wednesday's board meeting about a possible transfer, saying: "In this world I am not ruling out anything, but at the moment it is not realistic. I know Tottenham boss Daniel Levy loves to cash in high transfer fees in the final minutes of the transfer window."

Hamburg coach Fink added: "I don't want to let myself get carried away with speculation right now."

A €15 million swoop for the midfielder could only be financed by local multi-millionaire Klaus-Michael K├╝hne, who is thought to be keen to bring Van der Vaart back to the club.

Hamburg kick off their 50th Bundesliga season this weekend as the only team to have played in every campaign in the competition's half-century history, but they have endured a disastrous pre-season culminating in an embarrassing DFB Pokal exit at the hands of third-tier club Karlsruher.

Wolfsburg midfielder Petr Jiracek is also on Hamburg's radar, according to kicker. The Czech international only arrived in the Bundesliga in January but could be a €3.5 million target for the Rothosen, though Wolves boss Felix Magath would like to use him in a part-exchange deal for Real Betis' Benat Extebarria.

Hamburg have already signed 18-year-old Hakan Calhanoglu from cup conquerors Karlsruhe, but have loaned him straight back, while Milan Badelj is due to arrive from Dinamo Zagreb on September 1.

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