Papa Bouba Diop key player for Coleman

last updated Monday 16th May 2005, 10:48 AM
Papa Bouba Diop
Papa Bouba Diop

Chris Coleman wants Fulham to resist any offers for Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop during the summer.

Diop, who scored a spectacular free-kick in the 6-0 thrashing that consigned Norwich to relegation, has emerged as one of the best midfielders in the Premiership.

Despite occupying a holding role the 27-year-old has contributed a goal every five games since joining Fulham from Lens for £1.5million last July, though it his tenacity and range of passing which are equally eye-catching. They are, though, qualities which the Fulham manager fears could lead to interest from other clubs.

"He's a magnificent player," said Coleman. "I just thought he would get better and better and he's a player that we must under no circumstances let leave this club, it's as simple as that.

"There will be interest in him because there's not many like him, he's got two good feet, strong in the air, breaks it up and can score a goal as you saw today - so we cannot let that guy leave this club.

I know I said that about Louis Saha, but [Diop] is very important for us."

Source Evening Standard by Stuart James
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