Hamburgs Van der Vaart targets Europe
Hamburg's Holland midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has set the sleeping Bundesliga giants the target of a top six finish in this season's German league to guarantee a return to European football.
Hamburg finished seventh in last season's Bundesliga, just outside the Europa League places for the fourth season in a row, but van der Vaart, 30, has said the 1983 European Cup winners must target a return to international competition.
"We say every summer that we have to improve compared to the season before," the ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid midfielder told Hamburg's Morgenpost newspaper.
"For us, that clearly means sixth place, or even clearer, international competition."
Having signed striker Jacques Zoua from FC Basel, Hamburg's sports director Oliver Kreuzer has targeted Arsenal defender Johan Djourou and Borussia Dortmund's 22-year-old centre-back Lasse Sobiech as potential new additions.
Paraguay forward Roque Santa Cruz, currently at Manchester City, is also a Hamburg-target before the north German team return for pre-season training on Monday.
Hamburg need a new striker after South Korea's Son Heung-Min joined Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month.
"He is an absolute top player, I know him from England when I was at Tottenham," said van der Vaart of the 31-year-old Santa Cruz.
"On the ball, he can do everything. He is fast, strong in the air and ice cold in his finishing. He's a perfect striker."
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