Hull City last night sought to steal a march on Wigan for the signature of Jimmy Bullard with a bid understood to be in the region of £5m.
Bullard, 30, has been looking for a move out of Fulham this month after they rejected his request for wage parity with the club's top earner Andy Johnson, on £45,000 a week. The midfielder, who has made two of Fabio Capello's England squads, has a higher regard for his own value than Fulham. The two sides are far apart in terms of what they believe Bullard's new contract should be and manager Roy Hodgson has expressed dismay at the player's unwillingness to sign.
With that in mind they are looking to cash in on the player this month as he will be out of contract in the summer of 2010. Wigan, whom Bullard left in 2006 to join Fulham, have expressed an interest in the midfielder, especially after losing Wilson Palacios to Tottenham this month. Neither Hull nor Fulham would comment on the subject last night.
Bullard was injured soon after signing for Fulham when his right leg twisted and buckled in a 50-50 challenge with Scott Parker in a game against Newcastle. Bullard underwent surgery for serious knee ligament damage in December of 2006 and did not make his return to the Fulham side until January of last year. The club then secured an unlikely escape from relegation, winning four out of their last five games. Bullard's performances, including goals against Aston Villa and Blackburn, proved vital.
Bullard has struck up a fine partnership with Danny Murphy in the Fulham midfield as the club have risen into the Premier League's top 10 this season. He is a popular figure with supporters and any sale is unlikely to go down well with Craven Cottage regulars.