Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Stoke City had all hoped to sign the Real Madrid striker, but he apparently fears he would not be able to live up to expectations that come with him being a one-time Manchester United goal machine.
On the move: Ruud Van Nistelrooy is set to leave Real Madrid
Consulted: Rafael van der Vaart
The Hammers were even prepared to meet his huge £100,000 a week present salary, but the 33-year-old Holland international is instead on the verge of accepting a lower offer from Hamburg.
Van Nistelrooy has been sounding out compatriots Rafael van der Vaart and Joris Mathijsen about the Bundesliga club.
Van der Vaart played for the club before signing for Madrid 18 months ago, while defender Mathijsen is in his fourth season with Hamburg.
Van Nistelrooy is keen to play regular football in the run-up to the World Cup and is expected to seal his move to Germany in the next 24 hours.
Frustrated: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Hamburg are also keen on AC Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, though it is unclear whether they will want to complete deals for both of the Dutchmen.
West Ham and Birmingham City have been linked with the 26-year-old, who is unhappy at playing so little for Milan since a summer switch from Real Madrid.
With Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all known to be looking at their attacking options, his agent Arnold Oosterveer confirmed: 'There are some clubs in England interested in the player, but out of respect for the clubs I cannot tell you (who they are).
'Everything is possible and in the last week (of the transfer window) a lot of things can happen. He wants to play more than he plays now and if that is in England or Germany or Spain or Italy, that is for him.
'There is no problem at the moment and I hope Milan want to co-operate for the next four months and play him, because he needs to play more. It depends if Milan want to co-operate with the player. For now they want him to stay in Milan.'
Legacy: Ruud van Nistelrooy was a hero for Manchester United
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