Cologne – With the 2015/16 Bundesliga season just around the corner, we figured it prime time to take a closer look at some of the German top flight's most talked about summer signings.
Next up we turn the spotlight on Hamburger SV, whose capture of veteran centre-back Emir Spahic could prove to be one of the shrewdest transfers of all.
Champions League experience
In 2013/14, HSV – the Bundesliga’s only ever-present side – only narrowly avoided relegation by virtue of the play-offs. Last term history repeated itself, with Hamburg needing a last-minute Marcelo Diaz free-kick in the play-off second leg against Karlsruher SC to save them from the drop.
Now, however, it seems the club’s powers-that-be are determined to avoid another nerve-jangling season finale by pulling off a major coup in signing Spahic. The 34-year-old was a mainstay at former club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, where he played a leading role in helping them reach the last 16 in the UEFA Champions League and seal a fourth-placed finish in the Bundesliga last season.
Yet the Bosnia and Herzegovina international left the Werkself in less than ideal circumstances and is now keen to make headlines for the right reasons. “I’m grateful to Hamburg,” he said after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal. “It was important to me to continue my career in the Bundesliga.”
In light of his outstanding abilities, Hamburg were more than willing to give him that opportunity. “We’re delighted to have brought in a defender with such proven attributes,” said sporting director Peter Knäbel. “Emir’s experience, quality and presence on the pitch can help him become one of our team’s leaders. In addition, he can help orientate, guide and support our young players.”
Spahic, who speaks French, Spanish, German, English and Russian alongside his mother tongue, sees his role in the side similarly. “I’m a communicator,” he told HSV.de. “It’s part of my job to talk to my team-mates. I’ve done that at every club I’ve played at.”
Yet the veteran, who is set to form part of a central defensive pairing with newly named captain Johan Djourou, was not only recruited to pass on his knowledge to the next generation. He is also expected to play his part this season, with his robust tackling, superb positioning and aerial game poised to lend Hamburg far greater steel at the back - and hopefully steer them clear of the drop zone.