Cottagers join race for Bellamy

13 August 2010 10:54
Fulham boss Mark Hughes has become the latest manager to declare an interest in signing Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy.

Sunderland chief Steve Bruce and Celtic's Neil Lennon both raised the possibility of recruiting the Welshman on Thursday and Hughes has now joined them.

And Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his admiration for Bellamy.

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. Hughes also played alongside and managed Bellamy for 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."

The Fulham boss also confirmed his desire to keep stopper Mark Schwarzer at Craven Cottage.

The 37-year-old has been linked with a move to Arsenal, who had a £2million bid for the player rejected in May.

One national newspaper included quotes attributed to Schwarzer this morning in which he said that a move to Arsenal was "an amazing opportunity that I want to take".

Hughes hinted Schwarzer has his heart set on a move to the Emirates Stadium, but insists that another bid from the Gunners would not be welcome.

Hughes continued: "From our point of view the situation has not changed. There was interest from Arsenal in May.

"Their bid was refused. We have not had any more bids and we wouldn't encourage any.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is looking to add a keeper to his ranks to increase competition for inconsistent stoppers Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianksi.

A transfer to the Emirates would represent a last opportunity for the veteran to play Champions League football, but Hughes insists that any deal must benefit Fulham.

"Mark sees it as an opportunity with the current stage that he is at in his career," the former Wales boss added.

"I can appreciate that but he has to understand that we have to protect Fulham too.

"At the moment it wouldn't be right for Fulham Football Club.

"He is an outstanding goalkeeper.

"It's only when you work with players that you realise how good they are.

"It would be difficult to replace him. It's difficult to get the right quality into your football club. We have a top-class keeper in our squad and we would like to keep him."

Hughes hopes to conclude a deal for AZ Alkmaar striker Moussa Dembele by the end of the day.

"We have made some progress with Moussa," said Hughes. "We hope that he will be in London by the close of play to do a medical, although it hasn't been fully signed off by his club yet."

Source: Team_Talk