The Fulham chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh, yesterday opened talks with Ajax about releasing Martin Jol, paving the way for the Dutchman to be announced as the new manager at Craven Cottage later this week.
The stand-off between the two competing clubs appeared to be drawing to a close after Ajax mellowed their stance. The Dutch club had initially refused even to speak with Mackintosh, who has been in Amsterdam since Monday.
Mackintosh and his legal team, however, are prepared to stay in the Netherlands for as long as it takes to secure Jol's release from his £2.5m-a-year contract, which still has two years to run.
Jol has assured Mackintosh that he has not changed his mind about taking over at Fulham following the departure of Roy Hodgson to Liverpool, even though the Dutch press had quoted him as saying he had agreed to stay with Ajax.
Last week Jol agreed terms on a rolling contract with Fulham, who have offered him generous terms. He is understood to have agreed a basic salary of more than £2.5m a year, which is more than double what Hodgson was on. On top, there is a package of performance-linked bonuses, which could potentially add another £1m.
Jol was sold on making the move after conversations with Fulham's owner, Mohamed al-Fayed. He likes the idea of working with just one boss, rather than the complicated management structure at Ajax.
Jol has been given assurances by the Ajax board that money would be released for new players. However, when Jol asked for that in writing, the board refused. Jol told friends yesterday that he expects his appointment as Fulham manager to be announced before the weekend.
Jol was yesterday accused by the Ajax striker Miralem Sulejmani of preventing a loan move to West Ham. The Serb claimed Jol had vetoed a one-year loan to Upton Park, after terms had been agreed with the West Ham manager, Avram Grant. Sulejmani said: "I was looking forward to relaunching my career at West Ham. Their manager sees me as a big talent and I'm keen to make a fresh start."
West Ham yesterday increased their bid for 23-year-old French striker Loïc Rémy to £13m, with most of the money offered up front as Nice have requested. West Ham have moved to head off interest from Liverpool and Lyons.Reuse content