Basel chief issues Xhaka hands-off warning
Basel's director of sport Georg Heitz has warned his club's former coach Thorsten Fink against making a further bid to sign young Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka this winter. Fink left the Swiss champions to take over at Hamburg last October and he is keen on the 19-year-old, who starred in Basel's elimination of Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, joining him in the north of Germany.
However, Heitz has warned that Xhaka is going nowhere, at least not this month. "Thorsten Fink has confirmed to me that they are interested in him and there has been an offer which we turned down swiftly," Heitz told Kicker magazine in Marbella, where both clubs are currently preparing for the second half of their respective seasons. A transfer is simply not on the agenda for us."
However, Heitz is aware that keeping hold of the midfielder, who has a contract in Basel until 2015, beyond the end of the season may prove more difficult. Xhaka will get another chance to showcase his qualities when Basel face Bayern Munich in a last-16 clash in the Champions League next month and Heitz admits Hamburg are not the only club on the scent.
"Of course a player like him attracts interest from other clubs," he said. "Hamburg are not alone in their interest. We also have other official offers."