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Sports

Hamburg Eye Podolski in Olic Swap Deal, Say Reports

Bundesliga club SV Hamburg are interested in signing Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski in exchange for Ivica Olic, according to German media reports.

Lukas Podolski

Hamburg apparently want Poldi, but he may want to return to Cologne

According to the dailies Welt and Hamburger Abendblatt in their online editions on Sunday, Jan. 4, Hamburg would be prepared to release Croatia striker Olic in the winter break if they can get Podolski in exchange.

Hamburg would have to pay some 7 million euros (9.7 million dollars) for Podolski plus Olic who would otherwise join Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The report said the deal would benefit both sides in many ways, including the fact that both players would still be eligible to play in the Champions League (Bayern) and UEFA Cup (Hamburg).

Lucrative sponsorship deal for Hamburg

Hamburg in addition have just extended their contract with main sponsors Emirates for an improved deal bringing in some 7 million euros a year, Abendblatt said.

Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness is quoted as telling Welt, "If Podolski comes to us and says he wants to go to HSV (Hamburg) then we can talk about it."

Both Bayern and Hamburg are in Dubai for winter training camps and are staying at hotels a few minutes drive from each other.

Ivica Olic

Ivica Olic could link up with Bayern sooner than expected

Bayern are said to want at least 10 million euros for Podolski who would be interested in rejoining his former club Cologne.

Hoeness confirmed Saturday that Olic, 29, is set to join Bayern at the end of the season on a three-year contract. However, Hamburg coach Martin Jol said in Dubai he could not rule out the Olic transfer "taking place sooner."

Podolski, who has been recovering from the flu, will fly out to join the Bayern squad in Dubai on Monday.

Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann said "Uli Hoeness will be trying to wrap up talks in January so that everything is sorted out to the satisfaction of Lukas and the club."

Other players' futures on the table

Klinsmann meanwhile said Sunday he would also be seeking talks in Dubai with Argentinian midfielder Jose Sosa over the player's future. Klinsmann would like to release the midfielder on loan to enable him to get more match practice.

"It's a very difficult situation with Jose to get him more match practice so that he can develop further. The competition is very, very great. But it depends on what he wants to do."

US striker Landon Donovan will be hoping to impress his claim to stay at Bayern after arriving on loan from LA Galaxy. A decision will be taken in March on whether the deal may be extended.

Donovan told the Bayern Web site said he was ready for the challenge against fellow strikers Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Podolski.

Landon Donovan

US national soccer player Landon Donovan had a short spell in Germany in 2005

"Training with such classy players makes you a better player yourself. I can learn lots from them," he said. "At the same time, I do believe I can bring qualities of my own to the team. I'm a different type of player compared to Luca, Miro and Lukas. I do a lot of work off the ball and at a high pace."

Donovan, 26, said he had improved greatly since an apprenticeship with Bayer Leverkusen and a brief spell with the club in 2005.

"I've grown up, especially mentally. I'm more experienced and mentally stronger, and I know what to expect here," he said. "Back then in Leverkusen, I wasn't ready for Germany and the Bundesliga. I thought for many months about the decision to come back, and spoke to lots of people. I know I'm ready for it now."

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