Fulham manager Chris Coleman has dismissed newspaper reports that Papa Bouba Diop could be heading to Manchester United by revealing that the Whites are close to tying the Senegalese midfielder to a new long-term contract.

Sir Alex Ferguson is eager to stiffen up his engine room by signing a replacement for Roy Keane and holds a longstanding interest in Diop, but Coleman is determined to avoid a repeat of Louis Saha’s acrimonious departure for Old Trafford. The powerful midfielder, who first shot to prominence when he scored the only goal as his country shocked world champions France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup, has enjoyed a couple of outstanding seasons at Craven Cottage and Fulham have tabled a one-year contract extension with his agent, Willie Mackay.

Coleman said:

“We want to extend Diop’s contract. He has this year and two more years left on his contract and he is certainly someone who we want to bring in and have talks with.”

The Fulham boss is hoping to bring in new recruits during the winter transfer window after being offered the opportunity to add new faces following positive discussions with chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed.

“The transfer window is four weeks of madness and I am keeping my fingers crossed because we have to do something. Maybe we will bring someone in on loan, maybe a permanent transfer or maybe both, but I also know that we will have people breathing down our necks for our best players.”