Fulham and West Ham not in Watson race

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The Independent Football

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has revealed West Ham and Fulham are not in the frame to sign Middlesbrough transfer target Ben Watson.

The 23-year-old midfielder is currently holding talks on Teesside while another Premier League club have matched Boro's £2m offer.

But Warnock has dismissed reports linking the Hammers and their London rivals Fulham with late bids for the former England Under-21 international.

When asked who the other interested parties were, Warnock said: "I can tell you that West Ham and Fulham aren't.

"We've agreed fees with a couple of clubs and obviously Middlesbrough have got the opportunity to speak with him first.

"I don't know if he's going to speak to anybody else but once we agreed a fee other clubs can quite rightly match the fee and talk to him.

"I'm pleased for Ben and for the club and the chairman. We had a derogatory offer of £500,000 from QPR and early on in the season it was unsettling for Ben.

"But we've got a realistic valuation now. I think £2m is realistic for someone of Ben's quality. I'll be sad to see him go, he's going to be a very exciting player."