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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fulham sign Kansas City Wizards striker Johnson

Fulham have completed the signing of USA striker Eddie Johnson.

The 23-year-old leaves Kansas City Wizards for a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League strugglers, after his application for a work permit was successful late on Wednesday.

He joins Danish midfielder Leon Andreasen and Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland at Craven Cottage since the transfer window reopened.

Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson told his club's official website: 'I have made no secret of the fact that I believe the squad lacks a certain balance in specific areas of the team and following the loss of Brian McBride to injury, this is true of our strike force.

'At 6ft 1in Eddie has the presence that will complement the other forwards within our squad and he has the ability to offer us another dimension to our attacking play.

'I am delighted that he has joined us and am grateful to the representatives from the Home Office for granting him the work permit which will enable him to play for us as soon as possible.'

Rangers' Gabon international forward Daniel Cousin, who has scored eight goals in 14 starts, is also discussing personal terms after the Scottish Premier League giants accepted Fulham's improved offer of 3million.

And other targets include former Liverpool, Barcelona and Ajax veteran striker Jari Litmanen and South Korean forward Cho Jae Jin who are both training with the Thamesside club - Cho had an inconclusive trial with Portsmouth last week after turning down a contract in the Japanese J-League.

But three weeks into his Craven Cottage reign, Hodgson knows the Fulham fans, having witnessed home defeats by Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal before last night's FA Cup exit at League Two Bristol Rovers, are restless.

He continued: 'Transfer deals are very complicated these days and take time to complete but I'm trying to get players in who can step straight into the team and fit our criteria.'

The former Inter Milan, Blackburn, Switzerland and Finland head coach replaced Lawrie Sanchez last month and is aiming for an almost complete makeover of the side who are five points adrift of safety in the Premier League.

He said: 'Our battle against relegation starts next Tuesday and there are 15 games left. We've had difficult ones against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal but I'm not saying players have let me down.

'Far from it. I think they've shown a good attitude, but obviously results mean that confidence is lacking.'

Hodgson is hard at work on five possible deals after completing the signings of Andreasen, a 24-year-old midfielder from Werder Bremen and 2million Hangeland from FC Copenhagen, who both look certain to make their Fulham debuts at Bolton.

Litmanen, at 37 next month and with a history of injuries, looks a gamble but is well known by Hodgson from their days with the Finnish national side.

He is available after being released by Swedish side Malmo, where Hodgson built his own stock as a manager and he insisted: 'Jari could be a big help to us. I am very optimistic about that.'

Hodgson has turned to Litmanen with the original plan to sign Marlon King from Watford dragging on over conflicting valuations of the player.

Watford are said to want 5million for King, who missed much of last season with a serious knee injury, while Fulham reportedly offered 3.5 million.

A Fulham spokesman said: 'We have never said, as has been reported, that Marlon King failed a medical here.

'All we are saying is that negotiations are ongoing.'

Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd, however, is determined to sign Fulham's Dutch reserve striker Collins John on loan for the rest of the season, whether the King deal goes through or not.

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