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Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Coleman: Fulham must spend to stay in Prem

Chris Coleman admits Fulham will never again spend big under Mohamed Al Fayed but claims the chairman knows only investment will stop the club being sucked into a relegation battle.

Injury-ravaged Fulham finished their Christmas schedule with four Premiership draws, a disappointing return given they faced all three teams in the relegation zone, two of them at home.

Coleman has warned Al Fayed another battle against the drop could materialise unless the squad is strengthened and the chairman has agreed to finance a recruitment drive.

But the Cottagers boss has been made aware that the days of spending 11.5million on a player - the amount paid for the club's record signing Steve Marlet in 2002 - are finished.

'There's money available and I'll do my utmost to use it. The chairman will put his hand in his pocket again,' he said.

'He knows we have to because while we've done OK and are staying in and around mid-table, it's so close that we're only three wins clear of the bottom three.

'You can only go so far with a squad of 15 or 16 players because if you pick up any more injuries then you're in trouble.

'Two or three bad results and we're down the other end. We have to invest. The chairman knows that and that's why he's made money available.

'The days of buying players for 11.5million are long gone but there's enough in the kitty to make an improvement to the squad.'

Coleman is hoping to strengthen in midfield and attack and is at an advanced stage in negotiations with three players.

'Sometimes I can bring in new faces but I don't think they'll be any better than what we have so there's no point,' he said.

'They have to be at least as good. I hope to have at least two signings early in the window.

'At the moment there are three players we're far down the line with but in my experience it's never done until it's done.'

One of those is Roma's Italy striker Vincenzo Montella while another is Clint Dempsey, a 1.5million fee having been agreed for the USA forward pending a successful work permit application.

A potential problem is that 23-year-old Dempsey has not appeared in a high enough percentage of his country's recent international matches to automatically qualify for a permit.

'Dempsey's work permit application has to go to a tribunal,' said Coleman.

'I'm hoping they'll give us a good decision because I've rated him for a long time. Hopefully we can bring him across.'

Collins John has been linked with a move to Watford, who held out for a goalless draw at Craven Cottage yesterday, but Coleman insists there has been no fresh interest in the Dutch international.

And with John missing an open goal near the end of yesterday's encounter, Coleman joked the Hornets are unlikely to swoop now either.

'We haven't had an offer for Collins John from Watford. A long time ago they expressed an interest,' he said.

'There could be an offer today because they'd want to sign him early doors in the window if they do want him. But after he missed that goal it's unlikely he'll get an offer!'




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