Schalke boss Felix Magath has announced today that Heiko Westermann is set to move to Hamburg after a transfer has been agreed between the two sides. Magath stated that the move was based on first-team football, and that Westermann would not be played regularly in the center of Schalke’s defense.
“Heiko has quit our training camp as he is on his way to Hamburg,” Magath told Deutsche Presseagentur. “The paperwork is still missing the signatures, but I expect this will go through in time.
“I was very much unwilling to accept his transfer, looking at things from the viewpoint of a manager. In the end I have agreed to this transfer due to the overall situation of our club. I was unable to guarantee him first-team football as he was wanting to play in the centre of defence, which is his ideal position.”
The news will come as a blow to many Schalke fans, who know that Heiko Westermann’s versatility can be essential in times of injury or suspension.
For Hamburg, this is a great move though. Westermann missed out on Germany’s World Cup squad through a late injury, and would have been able to play anywhere along the back-line or in a defensive midfield position. The 26-year old defender has been at Schalke for three years, and was a pivotal player for them in the past. Westermann also starred in Schalke’s Champions League campaign in 2007. At Hamburg, he will provide great cover in all of those positions, but he will have been assured first-team football in the center of defense as well.
After Jerome Boateng’s move away from HSV this summer, Westermann’s experience in that central defensive role is a great replacement for the young German defender who will know ply his trade in England with Manchester City. Westermann could be partnering up with World Cup finalist Joris Mathijsen at the center of Hamburg’s defense. This combination would certainly be very stable and will allow Hamburg to push up the Bundesliga standings once again.
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