In a 1990 paper Helton and Young showed that under certain conditions the optimal solution of the Nehari problem corresponding to a finite rank Hankel operator with scalar entries can be efficiently approximated by certain functions defined in terms of finite dimensional restrictions of the Hankel operator. In this paper it is shown that these approximants appear as optimal solutions to restricted Nehari problems. The latter problems can be solved using relaxed commutant lifting theory. This observation is used to extent the Helton and Young approximation result to a matrix-valued setting. As in the Helton and Young paper the rate of convergence depends on the choice of the initial space in the approximation scheme.Comment: 22 page
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