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 By Ben Gladwell

Valon Behrami set for Hamburg move

Valon Behrami is on the verge of joining Hamburg after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed the Serie A club had granted the player's wish for a transfer.

Behrami, 29, is already in northern Germany, where he was due to undergo a medical.

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He made 21 appearances for Napoli last season, struggling to force his way into coach Rafael Benitez's plans.

"We are trying to perfect the ideal system of play for Rafa Benitez, and Behrami, who had asked us if he could play in positions where he could perform to his best, is consequently leaving us to go to Hamburg for a medical before we can exchange signed contracts," De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"Let's just wait to hear how the medical goes before finishing the deal. Since he could not find any room in Benitez's system, we decided to grant his wish.

"Valon always did honour the shirt he wore and gave a great deal to Napoli. I would like to thank him for his great sacrifice, great professionalism and for being a true warrior.

"He was perfect for [former coach Walter] Mazzarri, but he suffered under Benitez. He gave his best every time he took to the field, but he needs to play in the role he loves to play."

Behrami had been a key player for Napoli until the arrival of Benitez.

Former Genoa, Verona, Lazio and West Ham United midfielder Behrami joined Napoli from Fiorentina in 2012 after spending 18 months with the Viola. He signed for them from the Hammers, where he had spent two and-a-half years following his arrival from Lazio.

The Switzerland international appeared in all four of his nation's matches at the World Cup this summer and has been capped a total of 52 times.

His place at Napoli could be taken by Manchester United midifelder Marouane Fellaini, who De Laurentiis would like to buy not only for his playing attributes.

"He's got the head of a lion," he said. "Fellaini would fit in well here and compensate for the lack of hair on [Gokhan] Inler's head, but he's not our only target."


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