David Bates: Hearts-linked defender 'frozen out' at Hamburg as former Rangers youngster seeks transfer
Former Rangers defender David Bates faces an uncertain end to the transfer window as he looks for a new club.
The 24-year-old joined Hamburger SV in 2018 but has been limited to just 28 appearances, all coming during the 2018/19 season in the German second tier.
Bates joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan in August 2019 but started just one match – an EFL Cup win against Rotherham United – before suffering a hip flexor injury that sidelined him for an extended period.
He then tried his luck at Belgian side Cercle Brugge last season but despite the loan arrangement including an option to buy, the Groen en Zwart did not activate the clause and he returned to Nordrhein-Westfalen.
But despite returning to Hamburg, it has been reported that Bates has next to no chance of ever featuring for Die Rotenhosen again. The club is not short of options at centre-back.
He is under contract until the summer of 2022 but is currently training with the Under-21 squad and has been blocked from playing for the club’s B team in the Regionalliga Nord.
The former Raith Rovers youngster is currently living at the Mercure Hotel am Volkspark near the club’s training base, according to German publication BILD.
Hearts have been credited with an interest in the four-cap Scotland internationalist as they seek defensive reinforcements while Aberdeen are understood to be weighing up a move.
BILD believes Hamburg will let Bates leave on a free transfer but without a severance package, as afforded to two recent players Gideon Jung, who joined Greuther Fürth, and Kahled Narey, who eventually joined Fortuna Düsseldorf.
BILD quotes legendary Hamburg fan Helm-Peter Dietz as saying: “I’ve never seen such a sad player. Everyone here gets a severance payment and can leave. Not him – that’s not how you should treat people.”
It is understood that a club made contact with Bates over a proposed move but the money on offer was not enough to convince the Fife-born player to take things further.
In short, Bates will have to find a new club in order to play regular football on lower wages, or see out his contract in Germany without kicking a ball.