Hughes joins the race to sign Bellamy

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes has become the latest manager to declare an interest in signing Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce and Celtic's Neil Lennon both raised the possibility of recruiting the Welshman yesterday and Fulham manager Hughes has now joined them.

If Bellamy did move to Craven Cottage it would be the third time Hughes had signed the 31-year-old after also taking him to Blackburn and City, while he played with and under the Fulham boss when he was in charge of Wales.

Bellamy appears surplus to requirements at Eastlands and has been left out of City's squad for their Europa League qualifier against Timisoara despite there being room for two more players in the pool.

Bellamy faces stiff competition from the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, David Silva, Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez for a place under Roberto Mancini, who has hinted that he would be willing to let the Welshman go.

Hughes said today that he would be interested in signing Bellamy despite previously claiming that he thought a move would be beyond Fulham financially.

When asked if he would be interested in signing the striker, Hughes responded: "Yes. He was one of the top players in the Premier League and if he comes on the market, and if we're in the position where we can conclude a deal for Craig Bellamy, then yes we would be very interested.

"At the end of the day the way the situation seems to be forming for Craig that Manchester City won't use him at Premier League level, so from Craig's point of view it is very important that he makes the right decision for his career because a wrong decision at this point in time could hurt him, so I wish him well in what decision he takes."

Meanwhile, in-demand AZ Alkmaar forward Moussa Dembele has also targeted a move to Hughe's Fulham.

The Belgium international is keen on furthering his career in the Barclays Premier League but yesterday turned down a move to Birmingham.

City boss Alex McLeish hinted Dembele had opted for another club and that appears to be Fulham.

"I want to go to a top league and a stable club where I get a good feeling. Also a club where I will play," he told the Noord-Hollands Dagblad.

When asked about Fulham, he added: "A really nice club. And as I am just 23, I still have a number of years to make a move to a bigger club."