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Monday, January 9, 2006
Mpenza in Qatar to discuss terms

BERLIN, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Bundesliga club Hamburg SV have cleared Emile Mpenza to join Qatar's Al Rayyan should the Belgium striker agree terms.

'He is in Qatar and been given three days free,' Hamburg spokesman Joern Wolf said on Monday, adding it was up to Mpenza to decide if he was happy with the possible move.

Mpenza, whose contract runs until mid-2008, has scored just once for Hamburg in 10 appearances to date and has often been a substitute or replaced before the end. Hamburg coach Thomas Doll has made it clear Mpenza is free to go.

German media have speculated that Al Rayyan would have to pay a transfer fee of about 1.5 million euros ($1.81 million).

The 27-year-old striker, with 49 international caps, was the player sent off by referee Robert Hoyzer in the rigged German Cup tie that Hamburg lost to regional league side Paderborn in August 2004.

Hamburg have made no secret of the fact that they are eager to sign Germany striker Lukas Podolski at the end of the season. However, champions Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen are also in the hunt for the 20-year-old, currently at struggling Cologne.

Hamburg also appear set to release Japan striker Naohiro Takahara and are interested in signing giant Serb striker Nikola Zigic from Red Star Belgrade.

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