By Joe Buckle
Arsenal centre-back Johan Djourou could be in line for an Emirates exit after Bundlesliga side Hamburg declared their interest in signing the Swiss international, according to German Newspaper Bild. Djourou, 26, spent the second half of last season in Germany with Hannover 96 and his performances impressed Oliver Kreuzer, Hamburg’s Director of Sport.
Kreuzer told the German paper that his club would be equally happy signing the player permanently or on a season-long loan deal, “depending on what Arsenal prefer.” The Hamburg man seemed bullish about fending off existing interest from Hannover, commenting, “Hannover did well in Europe last season, but Hamburg is Hamburg.” He continued, “HSV is HSV, we are just a better club.”
Arsene Wenger is intent on clearing out his large squad this summer to make room for the greatly anticipated new arrivals. Andrey Arshavin, Sebastian Squillaci and Denilson have all already left the Club, with Djourou expected to be next in line. The interest from Hamburg is therefore likely to be well received by the Emirates hierarchy. However Bild also report that the defender’s contract still has two years to run and state that his inflated wages of £3 million year, just under £60,000 a week, could potentially scupper any deal.
If the move were to materialise it would bring Djourou’s spell in North London to an end, nearly ten years after his signing in August 2003. In that time the Swiss has amassed 144 appearances for the Club, but failed to ever establish himself as a first-choice central defender. Many Arsenal fans would therefore be delighted to see more of the squad’s ‘deadwood’ removed from the wage bill.