Fulham loan deal offers Bridge route to Germany

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The Independent Online

The Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge has finalised his move to Fulham on loan until end of season.

Bridge had been lined up by Tottenham as well but the Spurs manager, Martin Jol, said his bid to sign Bridge on a permanent deal was foiled by his refusal to give the player the assurance that he would definitely play first-team football.

Jol said: "It's more about Wayne Bridge than us. He wants to play and we never guarantee players they will. We cannot give assurances. He wants to go to the World Cup so I can appreciate he wants to play but we couldn't give him that guarantee."

Bridge broke his leg in February and has made just three Chelsea appearances since October. But the Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, who had a £1.2m bid for Portsmouth midfielder Matthew Taylor rejected, yesterday, has promised him first-team football between now and the end of the season in a bid for the 25-year-old left-back to cement a place in England's squad at Germany 2006.

"I'm really happy to join Fulham for the remainder of the season because I think the next few months is an incredibly important period for me to be playing regular football," Bridge said.

"Fulham is a nice club with a great atmosphere, but most importantly they play good football under Chris Coleman."

West Ham United were yesterday in talks with Barcelona over an audacious bid for striker Maxi Lopez. They hope to sign the 21-year-old Argentinian on a permanent transfer although he would not move until the summer.

They are also pursuing Poland's full-back Marcin Baszczynski who plays for Wisla Krakow and who is to arrive on trial this weekend.

West Ham's interest in the Argentinian has developed following their failure to land Red Star Belgrade's Nikola Zigic and, more recently, their frustration at trying to buy Dean Ashton from Norwich City. A £7m bid has been rejected with Norwich intimating they may want as much as £8m. West Ham remain keen on signing the 22-year-old.

Everton will today consider whether to take a loss of around £1.5m on the Danish defender Per Kroldrup who cost around £5.1m when they signed him from Udinese at the start of last summer and is now wanted by the Serie A's Fiorentina.

Wigan have signed the Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Thompson on a short-term contract until the end of the season as well as a loan deal with Liverpool for striker Neil Mellor.

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