Bayer Leverkusen allowed Joel Pohjanpalo to join Hamburg on a short-term loan deal in the winter market after the forward struggled with injuries over the past few years.

Prior to the 25-year-old’s temporary move to the Bundesliga 2 side, Leeds United were also interested in him.

Pohjanpalo had an opportunity to join the Whites and this has been confirmed by the player himself during an interview with Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

“In retrospect, you can say that was the perfect move. As a place, HSV met the criteria I wanted. Another strong option was Leeds United in the Championship,” Pohjanpalo said.

“However, I knew that the loan transfer would be a short time and I would have had to get to the team quickly.”

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The Finnish international has managed eight goals in 11 league appearances for Hamburg and is currently enjoying life in the second division of German football.

Jonas Boldt became Hamburg’s sporting director last summer, and he joined them after stepping down from the same position at Leverkusen. Pohjanpalo joined the Bundesliga side in 2013 and Boldt had a role in his signing.

Pohjanpalo also explained Boldt’s presence at Hamburg was one of the reasons behind his decision to join them over Leeds United.

“I talked about the loan transfer with Leverkusen, my own close friends, my agent and, of course, HSV. One big factor was that HSV’s current sports director is Leverkusen’s old sports director. He was at the time a scout, who got me from Finland. I knew there’d be credit when I moved here,” he stressed.

Helsingin Sanomat categorically asked the Leverkusen owned player how much he thought about Marcelo Bielsa’s side before joining Hamburg.

“It was a strong option. It was an exciting option because the fact that the club was close to rising to the Premier League,” the attacker explained.

“Leverkusen wanted me to stay close to them. HSV and Leeds both play more or less in the same way, and it seemed that HSV was close to Leverkusen.”