Emirates Stadium target stalling over new Fulham deal.
Fulham manager Martin Jol has said the club will continue talks with defender Brede Hangeland over a new deal at Craven Cottage, although nothing is yet close to completion.
The 31-year-old Norwegian has become a vital part of Fulham’s back-line since joining from FC Copenhagen in 2008, but is out of contract in the summer.
Despite the Cottagers’ desire to keep hold of their prized asset, a new deal does not appear close to completion, with the player’s agent stating in August that no extension was on the cards and several clubs, including London rivals Arsenal, are thought to be keeping tabs on the situation.
However, Jol insists he wants Hangeland to remain at the club beyond the end of the season, although he too admits terms are yet to be agreed.
‘That will take a bit longer because we don’t talk to him every day but there will be another appointment as we try to keep him here for the long term,’ said Jol.
‘If that is not possible then we will try to keep him for the next two years.’
With the greatest possible respect to Fulham, it is something of a surprise that Brede Hangeland is still at Craven Cottage. The towering Norweigan impressed so much in his first two seasons in the Premier League, that he was linked with big-money moves to the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Now 31, it appeared that Hangeland had missed the boat on the chance to push for titles and compete in the Champions League. But according to the source, the centre-half is stalling on signing a new deal at the club, meaning Arsenal could yet swoop for the star.
The Gunners have been much improved defensively this season, with fit-again Thomas Vermaelen forming a fine partnership with Laurent Koscielny, with lanky German Per Mertesacker in reserve. Even so, Arsene Wenger would surely be interested in Hangeland, who offers a beastly physical presence and bags of top-flight experience.
The Norway international would surely be interested in the chance to finish his career at a club as prestigious as Arsenal.
Fulham, of course, have other ideas. Despite the loss of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele this summer, the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov has given Craven Cottage a real sense of optimism and there is a feeling that Martin Jol could achieve something special in West London. To do so, the Dutchman will need to hang onto his leaders like Hangeland.
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