Despite being told that there would be no money for transfers without player departures, the former Chelsea staffer proceeded to bring in the Dutch midfielder and Martin Jiracek in a bid to alter the club's fortunes.
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"A month ago we had no money to invest. We had a meeting with the board. That’s where we were told: 'Without selling a player we cannot do any transfer for a new player'," he explained to Bild.
"I said three weeks ago that it is better to take a calculated risk. The question was whether we could do that. We could not have bought Van der Vaart without help from outside."
And the 56-year-old was delighted to persuade the Dutchman to make the move from Tottenham to Hamburg on the final day of the transfer window, also claiming that he talked to Nicklas Bendtner about a possible switch before the Arsenal striker's loan switch to Juventus.
He added: "I'm thankful that we could get a player like Rafa. That such a player comes to HSV. If you want players of a certain level, they must want to come to Hamburg.
"I have talked a lot to Nicklas Bendtner but he wanted to play European football."