Coleman still seeking another new striker
Saturday 24 January 2004
Fulham boss Chris Coleman today revealed he is in the process of trying to sign at least one more striker in a bid to plug the gap left by Louis Saha's departure for Manchester United.
American international Brian McBride has completed his move to Loftus Road but is unavailable for Sunday's FA Cup fourth round clash with Everton after failing to secure a work permit in time for the match.
McBride has been touted a Saha's replacement but Coleman revealed that he was tracking the 31-year-old Columbus Crew forward long before Saha had set his heart on a move to Old Trafford.
Now the Cottagers manager needs to scour the transfer market once again as looks to add firepower up front where Barry Hayles and Facundo Sava are only short-term replacements for the in-form Saha.
"Brian won't be available for Sunday. We couldn't get clearance for him but we have signed him and he is our player. It was a rush to get the work permit through but it should be done on Monday so he'll be okay for Tottenham next week," he said.
"I was looking at McBride a long time before we found out Saha wanted to leave. I wanted to bring him to the club and keep Louis but obviously that didn't happen, so I'm looking at one or two more players up-front.
"The problem is we've only got a week left before the transfer window closes. We've been talking to a few people but it's difficult to get what you want, when you want it. It's 50/50 at the moment with the targets I've got in mind."
Saha's acrimonious exit - he was finally allowed to join Manchester United last Sunday after weeks of speculation - may leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Fulham fans but Coleman has consigned the episode to history.
"We've drawn a line under the Louis Saha saga and we've moved on. I've seen Louis apologise to the Fulham, fans, players and myself for the way things worked out. But from my point of view it's finished. He's got nothing to do with me anymore," he said.
Reports in the Spanish press this week suggested that Sava could be the next player to leave Loftus Road with Espanyol keen on signing the Argentinian hitman, with both a loan deal and permanent transfer being mooted.
Sava, who joined Fulham in summer 2002, has fallen out of favour this season after scoring just one goal in seven appearances and his exit would come as little surprise, although Coleman refused to comment on the speculation.
"I won't comment on clubs that are interested in my players, or what players I'm interested in. There's interest in a lot of our players but out of respect for Facundo I won't talk about transfer rumour," said the Welshman.
January has proved a steep learning curve for Coleman, who describes the transfer window as "manic", but he hopes the recent ordeals have honed his managerial skills - even if they have failed to temper his dislike of agents.
"This is my first full season in charge so I don't know what it was like when there no transfer window. I would imagine it wasn't as manic as it is now that we only have a month," he said.
"I've been preparing since the summer to bring new players in but when it actually starts it's manic. This has been a hard period for me but that's part of the game. But I should be a better manager for the experience.
"A lot of agents I don't enjoy dealing with. They're not all bad - there are one or two good ones - but the majority of them are not my favourite people."
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