Hamburg's Calhanoglu in demand
Several top European clubs are chasing Hamburg midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, according to German media reports.
Calhanoglu, 20, has been a rare positive for Hamburg in a disastrous season that has seen the Bundesliga’s longest-serving club embroiled in a relegation scrap.
Reports in Germany have claimed that the likes of Liverpool, both Manchester Clubs, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are interested in the Turkey international, with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers believed to have personally scouted the midfielder during Hamburg’s recent 2-1 victory against Leverkusen.
“Prestigious clubs from Europe are interested in him. But until now no one has officially approached us,” Calhanoglu’s agent Bektas Demirtas told Bild.
The midfielder is contracted to Hamburg until 2018 and has only recently signed a contract extension in February, which, according to reports, does not include a release clause in case his club are relegated from the German top flight for the first time this season.
“We’ve heard of nothing. And selling Hakan is not an option,” Hamburg sporting director Oliver Kreuzer told Hamburger Morgenpost.
“I am fully focused on Hamburg and the battle to avoid relegation. I still convinced that we can do it,” Calhanoglu told the same newspaper.
Calhanoglu joined Hamburg from then third-tier team Karlsruher SC in 2012, and following a one-year loan spell back at his old club, he broke into Hamburg’s first team this season.
He was briefly linked with Arsenal last year, after his injury-time free kick against Borussia Dortmund from close to the halfway line made international headlines in February 2014.
The midfielder has netted 10 goals this season, with five of them coming in Hamburg’s last seven Bundesliga games. He has also provided three assists in his first Bundesliga season, during which he has played all but two games.
Hamburg, who struggle financially, could be forced to sell one of their few assets should they be relegated this season; with four games left to play, Hamburg are in 16th place and as things stand they would face a relegation playoff with a 2. Bundesliga side in May. ,
Mirko Slmoka’s side trail 15th-placed Stuttgart by one point but are only two points clear of bottom-of-the-league club Eintracht Braunschweig.
In their final four games, Hamburg host Champions League contenders Wolfsburg and champions Bayern Munich, while facing Europa League chasing Augsburg and Mainz on the road.