Hamburg delighted with ‘ridiculous’ transfer fee for De Jong

But instead the Premier League side handed Hamburg £19million for the 24-year-old.

The Dutch midfielder had a clause in his contract that said he could leave Hamburg for just £2.3million this summer.

A Dutch source told the Sun: “Hamburg are laughing all the way to the bank.

“No one can believe that a club would act like this in the current economic climate.

“People in Holland are still shaking their heads. Nigel is a decent player but is he worth £16.7million for just four months? No way.

“City are just showing how little regard they have for money — and sense. It is ridiculous.”

Hamburg boss Martin Jol said: “The club just couldn’t refuse the offer.”