Fulham's wait for Jol continues

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The Independent Football

Fulham's pursuit of Martin Jol continues to be frustrated by Ajax's refusal to discuss compensation for the release of their manager.

On a day of conflicting reports, Jol appeared to have performed a U-turn after initially claiming in the Dutch media that he was ready to stay in Holland.

But it is understood that the 54-year-old is intent on succeeding Roy Hodgson at Craven Cottage only to have his path blocked by Ajax, who are keen to retain him.

Fulham's chief executive Alistair Mackintosh is in Amsterdam to discuss the move but has so far been unable to secure Jol's departure.

The former Tottenham manager has two years left on his contract and his exit would require Fulham to pay compensation.

The day started with reports in the Dutch media claiming Jol was prepared to snub Fulham, providing Ajax give him the funds to strengthen the squad this summer.

"They (Fulham) were interested but in principle I will stay at Ajax," Jol told Amsterdam-based newspaper De Telegraaf.

Jol had been told he was not able to recruit this summer until Holland right-back Gregory van der Wiel and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez had been sold to free up funds.

He was also angered by the release of Serbia striker Marko Pantelic and Denmark winger Dennis Rommedahl for nothing and feared he would not receive any money raised from the sale of further players.

But, following talks with financial director Jeroen Slop and chief executive Rik van den Boog, he was reportedly reassured he could bring in a cheap right-wing option and then spend more if the likes of Van der Wiel and Suarez left.

Fulham, however, are hopeful they will capture their preferred choice to lead the club in the post-Hodgson era after being told by Jol today that he wants to manage the club.

Hodgson oversaw the most successful period of the Cottagers' history when he steered them into the final of the Europa League last season.

The previous year he masterminded their highest top-flight finish with seventh - 12 months after saving them from relegation.

Hodgson's success attracted the attention of Liverpool, who swooped for the 62-year-old at the start of the month, and Fulham now face a period of consolidation.

Expectations among supporters are high following two spectacular seasons and the new manager has a tough act to follow.

But the well-travelled Jol appears to be a good fit for Fulham, not least because he has experience of the Premier League following a three-year spell at White Hart Lane.

In 2006 he led Spurs to the brink of Champions League qualification with only a defeat by West Ham on the last day of the season dropping them into fifth place.

He was sacked in October the following year after Spurs' courtship of successor Juande Ramos was unwittingly made public.

A solid season at Hamburg followed before he joined Ajax, who he led to a second-place finish in the league and victory in the Dutch Cup.

Fulham's squad are currently on their pre-season tour in Sweden with caretaker boss Ray Lewington in charge.

Ottmar Hitzfeld, Mark Hughes, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Dave Jones and Gianfranco Zola have been linked with the vacant manager's post over the past two weeks.