Hamburg head de Jong race
By Gerrit van Leeuwen
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Hamburg are now in the driving seat to sign Ajax's Nigel de Jong.Hamburg are now in the driving seat to sign Ajax's Nigel de Jong, ahead of Premiership side Tottenham.
The 21-year-old is out-of-contract in Amsterdam in the summer and he seems certain to leave the club then, if not in the January transfer window.
The likes of Celtic, West Ham and Borussia Dortmund have all been in the running to sign the talented Dutchman, but it was Tottenham who seemed to have beaten off all competition for his signature.
Spurs boss Martin Jol has been no stranger to signing the hottest young talent from across Europe, and he was looking to attract de Jong to White Hart Lane.
However, Bundesliga outfit Hamburg have now jumped to the head of the queue to land the international midfielder.
It is thought that the fact Tottenham wanted to sign de Jong on a pre-contract to join them in the summer was not to the player's liking, while they could also not match his personal demands.
Title-chasing Hamburg are keen to bring de Jong to the AOL Arena immediately to help them with their pursuit of league leaders Bayern Munich.
De Jong's former Ajax team-mate Rafael van der Vaart also made the switch to Hamburg and is doing well for Thomas Doll's men so far this season - and he could have also had a hand in the move.
Although nothing has been signed as yet it is thought that de Jong has now set his sights on joining Hamburg and should secure his move before the close of the transfer window.