Fulham manager Chris Coleman feels he has made a shrewd acquisition in Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.
Coleman pinched the African powerhouse from under the noses of Premiership rivals Portsmouth and Diop has made an immediate impression at Craven Cottage.
He produced a strong performance in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at home to Bolton, which prompted comparisons with fellow Senegal-born ace Patrick Vieira.
Cottagers boss Coleman had been trying to sign veteran Welshman Gary Speed but believes he has struck gold with Diop.
“We dragged our heels over signing Gary Speed from Newcastle and when we found out Papa had not put pen-to-paper at Portsmouth we went for it,” said Coleman.
“A few years ago we had a reputation for playing pretty football but lacking bite. Not any more.
“I’ve heard Papa get compared to Vieira but I don’t want him to get too much better or we’ll never keep him.”
Diop, who arrived from French side Lens, has already picked up the nickname ‘The Wardrobe’ and admits he is flattered by comparisons to Arsenal captain Vieira.
“I’ve got no problem with them calling me The Wardrobe, it’s a good thing,” said Diop.
“And it’s also good to be compared to Vieira. He’s made a massive impression on English football and I’d love to do the same.
“I enjoy making big challenges. I think The Premiership will suit me.”