Fulham ready to bring Jol back to England

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The Independent Football

Fulham yesterday moved closer to agreeing a deal with the Ajax coach Martin Jol that could see the Dutchman succeed former manager Roy Hodgson.

Talks are ongoing between Jol and the club's chief executive Alistair Mackintosh but it is starting to look increasingly likely that Fulham's two-week search for a new manager may be at an end.

Jol, a former manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Hamburg, is understood to be open to leaving Ajax after only one season in charge because he has fallen out with the club's board who are selling players without his consent to pay off debts.

The Netherlands defender Gregory van der Wiel is going to Bayern Munich for €20m (£17m), which follows the decisions to release Serbian striker Marko Pantelic and Danish winger Dennis Rommedahl for nothing. Striker Luis Suarez, who scored 49 goals last season, could be next and Jol does not think he will be able to invest any of the money received by the club.

Fulham are keen to spend as little money as possible but they will have to pay Ajax compensation as Jol, 54, has two years left on his current contract on a salary of €3m (£2.5m) a year.

Jol has told friends he misses working in England, where he spent almost three years in charge of Tottenham between 2004 and 2007. He took over from Jacques Santini in November 2004 and in 2006 they were close to finishing fourth, but much of the squad suffered food poisoining on the last day of the season and they lost 2-1 to West Ham to allow Arsenal to finish above them.

Jol was sacked in October 2007 during a Uefa Cup tie with Getafe in favour of Spaniard Juande Ramos, who proved to be a disaster. Jol still owns a house near Tottenham's training ground in Chigwell, Essex.

Fulham turned to Jol after approaching the Switzerland coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld. The veteran German manager had held informal talks with the club but has announced he intends to retire when his contract runs out at the end of the country's Euro 2012 campaign.

Hitzfeld, who won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, said: "I've got another two years in Switzerland and they will be my last two years in management."

Fulham have also been in talks with former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson who this week intimated he might return to work with the Ivory Coast, having managed the African country at the World Cup. Eriksson said: "They were really pleased and I guess that I can stay on if I want to. I will make up my mind in a week or so."

Bob Bradley, the United States manager, is also a candidate but his employers the United States Soccer Federation are keen to extend his contract. A spokesman said: "Bob is under contract with US Soccer until the end of the year and discussions are on-going."