Rajkovic joins ex-Blues at Hamburg
Hamburg have announced the signing of Serbia defender Slobodan Rajkovic from Chelsea.
Rajkovic, 22, signed for Chelsea in 2007 and has since had three loan spells in the Eredivisie, but despite Andre Villas-Boas' intention to retain the player he was unable to secure a work permit. As a result, he has left to join Hamburg, signing a four-year deal with the club.
Frank Arnesen left Chelsea to become sporting director at Hamburg in the summer and has since taken a number of players from Stamford Bridge, with Michael Mancienne, Gokhan Tore and Jeffrey Bruma all now plying their trade at the club.
Hamburg coach Michael Oenning admitted he could play immediately: "I don't want to rule anything out. I have to get to know him a bit first. He is tall and an uncomfortable opponent. He has a quality that we don't really have in our squad and that we need while he is left footed, which was particularly important to me.''
Rajkovic first joined PSV Eindhoven before spending two seasons with FC Twente, with whom he won the Dutch title in 2010, and then a year with Vitesse Arnheim, where he was made captain last season.
His form in the Eredivisie has also earned him a regular place in the senior Serbia national team and now he is ready to further in his career in one of Europe's top leagues.
"Holland has a very good league for young players to develop in,'' he said. "The Bundesliga is the next step. It is a strong league, but I have played with PSV in the Champions League and Twente in the Europa League and so I hope to find my feet quickly in Germany.''
Having conceded 10 goals in their first three Bundesliga matches, Hamburg certainly needed to do something to shore up the leakiest defence in the league, which is where Rajkovic comes in.
"I am a central defender who is not scared of going in for tackles,'' he said. "I have only just arrived here so I don't want to make any promises, but what I can promise is that I will always do my best and always give 100% for the team.''