Respected Dutch football source Voetbal International are this evening reporting that Slobodan Rajkovic has signed for Hamburger SV.
The 22 year-old Serbian international is believed to have agreed terms on a four-year deal with the Bundesliga side having failed to secure a work permit to continue his career with Chelsea.
Loan spells at PSV Eindhoven, FC Twente (twice) and Vitesse Arnhem were not enough for Rajkovic to convince the Home Office in the UK of his credentials and despite spending a successful pre-season with Andre Villas-Boas’ first team squad, it appears he is now set to leave.
Should he join Hamburg as reported, he would become the fourth permanent transfer sourced by former Blues Sporting Director Frank Arnesen from his former club. Michael Mancienne, Jacopo Sala and Gokhan Tore all made the leap earlier in the summer, whilst Dutch international defender Jeffrey Bruma is spending a year on loan there too.
Indeed, Rajkovic’s arrival could cast doubt over the starting berth of Bruma, with Arnesen and manager Michael Oenning believed to have made the move to shore up a defence which has shipped ten goals in the first three games of the season.
Arnesen has stated his confidence in Mancienne to be the team’s centre-back for the forseeable future but neither he nor Bruma will be confident of holding off competition from the more robust Rajkovic and Heiko Westermann in the coming months.
Fortunately both are versatile and should find enough playing time, but they’re set to have a familiar face compete with them as Rajkovic lays down some roots after a nomadic few years.
His failure to secure a work permit also creates potential problems for Chelsea, with Brazilian defender Alex apparently seeking pastures new. Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz would each move up one spot in the rotation but with youngsters Oriol Romeu and Nathaniel Chalobah next in line, Villas-Boas may be forced into late transfer window activity at the back.
More as the story develops.