Bierhoff is another not going to Fulham

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The Independent Online

Fulham, rich and suddenly fashionable again, seem to be suffering the downside of promotion to the Premiership; any player who thinks he is somebody seems mad keen to play for them. The latest in the line is Germany's "golden goal" striker, Oliver Bierhoff.

This time, Fulham felt the need to knock the story on the head straight away by issuing a statement denying they had made an offer for the Milan goalscorer. "Further to reports in various newspapers today, the club would like to state that no offer has been made for the purchase of Oliver Bierhoff," yesterday's statement said. "It is not normally club policy to comment on assertions made in the press, but we feel that in this instance it is appropriate to clarify the club's position."

It certainly has needed clarifying at times this summer as speculation has lighted on a number of internationals. Most prominent among them were the Dane John Arne Riise and Anderlecht's big Czech striker Jan Koller. For both of them, it seemed, the day could not dawn soon enough when they would be strolling in the Bishop's Park area of south-west London.

Oddly, Riise suddenly found himself attracted to the possibility of playing for Liverpool in Europe and Koller felt the draw of Dortmund and Borussia's Champions' League challenge too great to resist. Anyone would think that a modicum of market manipulation had been going on. Heaven forbid that anyone should suggest such a thing to those players' agents.

The agent who steers Shaka Hislop's fortunes, Jonathan Barnett, is understandably indignant about West Ham's decision to sign David James, who will almost certainly replace his man as the club's first-choice goalkeeper. Barnett talked of the club letting down a player who had been a "loyal servant" since 1998. That long, eh? No wonder the divorce rate is high.

There is nothing like making an international mark to boost a player's standing, and Paulo Wanchope will have done his no harm with the only goal of Costa Rica's Copa America contest against Honduras. The Manchester City striker's downward header in the 64th minute settled a match that was not out of the top drawer. Both those sides were playing only because Argentina and Canada turned their backs on the troubled tournament when it was finally reinstated in Colombia.

But "there's no such thing as an easy match" in international football, not even against Albania, who are in England's World Cup group. They ran Germany close in qualifying, but defeats by England and Germany since have spelled the end for their coach, Medin Zhega. There are clearly no easy jobs, either.

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