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Fulham up the stakes for midfield star

last updated Tuesday 10th January 2006, 9:55 PM
Stilian Petrov
Stilian Petrov
Position Midfielder


P.O.B. Montana, Bulgaria
Height 5'9"
Club Celtic

FULHAM are set to make a second bid for Stilian Petrov

CELTIC fans should brace themselves for more bad news - as Fulham step up their bid to land an unhappy Stilian Petrov.

The Parkhead club, trying to come to terms with their Scottish Cup humiliation at the hands of Clyde, are also losing the battle to keep the Bulgarian international.

It is understood that the Premiership strugglers are preparing an increased bid for the midfield star this week, and they hope to test Celtic's resolve with an offer close to the £4million mark.

Fulham owner Mohamed al-Fayed is so keen to ensure that with Petrov his club are signing a player who could keep them in the top flight that in the last week he has personally phoned leading football figures with an in-depth knowledge of the Scottish game.

Hoops chief executive Peter Lawwell and manager Gordon Strachan are under unbelievable pressure - especially in the wake of that 2-1 defeat to Clyde - to try and convince the club's star player to re-open talks over a new contract.

As things stand, Petrov has told the club he has no desire to continue with those discussions, which haven't progressed in three and a half months.

He is now ready to consider any offer put in front of him to leave Scotland.

And after yesterday's defeat at Broadwood, the Celtic supporters will be up in arms if the club fail to fend off the interest in a player they claim to rate extremely highly, but haven't secured on contract with a suitable offer.

SportTimes revealed months ago, when Fulham first made their interest in the midfielder known, that Petrov would only remain at the club if he matched the wages of the highest earners such as Bobo Balde and John Hartson.

Despite understanding the need to cut the wage bill, Celtic fans are united in the feeling that the club must find the money from somewhere to keep Petrov and the player's agent, Mark Donaghy, has held several meetings with the Parkhead club.

A source close to the player revealed: "Celtic have had three and a half months to strike a deal with Stilian, but that doesn't seem to be any closer and you eventually have to ask: Do Celtic really want him?

"The club have lost Jackie McNamara and Chris Sutton because they have not come up with the sort of deals the players were looking for, and, without being disrespectful to either, Petrov would be a massive loss.

"Stilian wanted to stay, his family are really happy in Glasgow but as things stand, he no longer wishes to continue with talks.

"If Celtic won't sell him then he will see out the remainder of his contract at leave on a Bosman at the end of next season.

"Peter Lawwell is in charge of contract negotiations but Gordon Strachan is the manager and he has got to be stronger. He has got to take responsibility for this as well.

"The Celtic supporters must understand that Stilian wasn't looking for the world. It is the most important contract of his career but he was desperate to sign a new deal and feels badly let down by the club again."

Source The Evening Times by Thomas Jordan
Since 1998
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