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Westermann leaves Schalke to join Hamburg

Heiko Westermann has completed his transfer from Schalke to Hamburg, signing a four-year deal.

The Germany international was released by the Royal Blues from their training camp in Austria on Tuesday to enable him to travel to Hamburg, where he discussed terms on what is reported to be a five-year contract.

He was due back in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday to say farewell to his former team-mates before making the permanent move north.

The 26-year-old was one of Schalke's biggest earners having only recently signed a new contract until 2014. Given the club's financial worries, the opportunity to strike him from the wage bill and earn a transfer fee believed to be around €7.5 million was too great for Magath to turn down, particularly since he has signed two new central defenders in Christoph Metzelder and Kyriakos Papadopoulos this summer.

"We have plenty of cover in defence so this is an area where we can most easily compensate a loss," he said. "But it is also obvious that we will miss Heiko. He has a very good attitude, has always trained well and achieved a lot as captain of our team. If the financial situation had been better here, a transfer would never have been an issue.''

Westermann insists he joined Hamburg in the hope that they will play him in his preferred position as a centre-back.

"I did not have any perspective for a regular place in the Schalke team in my favourite position,'' he explained to the Revier Sport newspaper. "Therefore, I wanted to change clubs. Things are different at HSV. In Hamburg, they were looking for a central defender. I think that I can show off my strengths well here.''

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