Fulham hoping to arrange Petit deal

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Fulham are in talks with neighbours Chelsea about signing the midfield veteran Emanuel Petit when the transfer window opens.

Chris Coleman, the Fulham manager, wants the experienced Frenchman to make Fulham his third club in London and hopes to pull off the deal in the new year.

Petit was in Claudio Ranieri's side until he was injured and may yet force his way back into the club's plans, but Fulham think he can be tempted to join them on a long-term contract.

The former Arsenal favourite is out of contract at the end of the season and can go for nothing then, so Fulham believe they will have only a minimal fee to pay now.

And while Chelsea delay offering Petit a new deal, Fulham have that in their favour as they await permission to enter into negotiations with the player.

Petit has been linked with a move away from Chelsea since Roman Abramovich arrived with his millions but, surprisingly, he played several games when the campaign began.

With Juan Sebastian Veron yet to impress and Geremi due to leave on African Nations' Cup duty, Chelsea may need him for the rest of the season after all. But Fulham are optimistic that their interest - and their money - can sway the day.

Petit's signing could spark new transfer interest in Fulham's Sean Davis, despite the midfielder being back in the team and off the transfer list at his own request. Both Everton and Middlesbrough have their sights on Davis if he becomes available.

Luis Boa Morte, the Fulham winger, has been banned for one match and fined £4,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of improper conduct. The Portuguese player's suspension comes into effect from 29 December.

The charge related to an incident in Fulham's match against Leicester on 4 October. Boa Morte is therefore suspended for the FA Cup third-round tie against Cheltenham on 3 January.

The former Arsenal and Southampton player scored both goals in a 2-0 win over the Foxes at Loftus Road but the referee, Chris Foy, missed his stamp on Frank Sinclair's midriff.

Both his goals came after the incident - the first just 60 seconds later. Sinclair played down the incident but the FA decided to punish Boa Morte nonetheless.

The striker has just served a three-game suspension for the red card he received against Liverpool last month - he was sent off for what his own manager called a "horrific challenge" on the young French striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

"He's a lovely lad but gets frustrated and lacks discipline at times," Coleman said at the time.

Boa Morte also ran into disciplinary trouble last season, when he was shown 12 yellow cards. Statistics showed that he was both Fulham's most fouled player last season - and also the Cottagers' player who committed the most fouls.

* The French stock market regulator has turned down an application by Lyon to launch the club on the stock market with a €30m [£21m] share issue, the club announced yesterday.

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