Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has suggested he may be open to a return to Hamburg but stressed that there has been no contact.
• Schalke want Van der Vaart
• Van der Vaart expects to stay
Van der Vaart, 29, has impressed since moving to White Hart Lane from Real Madrid in 2010 but, with Spurs having failed to qualify for the Champions League, there has been speculation that he could move on this summer.
Schalke, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season, have been linked with a bid, though their defender Christoph Metzelder recently indicated they were "more likely to rely on a solution from within the club".
Hamburg have now emerged as potential suitors. Having finished 15th last season, they cannot offer European football, but Van der Vaart enjoyed hero status during a three-year spell from 2005 and sporting director Frank Arnesen recently told Hamburger Morgenpost: "We would never close the door to someone like Van der Vaart".
Arnesen also suggested the deal would not be possible at present - "If we are to be at all active in the transfer market, we must first sell players," he said - but Hamburg-based billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuhne has indicated that he is willing to contribute financially. "HSV are my hobby," he said. "I'm definitely available as an investor."
Asked about the prospect of a return to the club by Bild, Van der Vaart appeared to offer encouragement to his former employers.
"It pleases me and I'm very surprised that I'm still causing interest at Hamburg," the midfielder said. "Currently, though, there is no contact."