Fulham are in talks with neighbours Chelsea about signing the midfield veteran Emanuel Petit when the transfer window opens.

Chris Coleman, the Fulham manager, wants the experienced Frenchman to make Fulham his third club in London and hopes to pull off the deal in the new year.

Petit was in Claudio Ranieri’s side until he was injured and may yet force his way back into the club’s plans, but Fulham think he can be tempted to join them on a long-term contract.

The former Arsenal favourite is out of contract at the end of the season and can go for nothing then, so Fulham believe they will have only a minimal fee to pay now.

And while Chelsea delay offering Petit a new deal, Fulham have that in their favour as they await permission to enter into negotiations with the player.

Petit has been linked with a move away from Chelsea since Roman Abramovich arrived with his millions but, surprisingly, he played several games when the campaign began.

With Juan Sebastian Veron yet to impress and Geremi due to leave on African Nations’ Cup duty, Chelsea may need him for the rest of the season after all. But Fulham are optimistic that their interest – and their money – can sway the day.