Chris Coleman admits he could not afford to sign John Hartson as a replacement for Andy Cole.

Former England international Cole is close to leaving Fulham after opening talks over a move to Manchester City.

Cole’s impending departure will leave Fulham boss Coleman bereft of an experienced front man and he is an admirer of Hartson.

Coleman watched the Welsh firebrand at close quarters on Saturday, as Fulham held Celtic to a 0-0 draw in a pre-season friendly at Craven Cottage.

Bhoys striker Hartson has also been linked with Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers and Coleman can understand the interest in the Scottish Footballer of the Year.

But Coleman concedes that, having made a previous enquiry for Hartson, the former West Ham United forward is out of his price range.

“I can understand why they want him,” commented Coleman on the interest from Blackburn and Bolton. “And they are not the only ones, for several Premiership clubs would love to sign him. I certainly would and made a tentative enquiry a while ago. But it did not get very far because there is no way in the world we could afford him.”