Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop admits he is still a target for other clubs despite signing a new contract and warned that manager Chris Coleman must bring in new faces if the club is to improve significantly next season.
The Senegal international, who is now contracted until 2009 after signing earlier this month, was delighted to earn himself a pay rise but warned it was no guarantee that other clubs would drop their interest.
He said: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract. I love Fulham and I’m happy to be here. I had a very good season last year and I agreed the improved contract.
“But it doesn’t change my situation. Clubs may still be interested in me regardless of the fact I have signed.”
Coleman has been given permission to sign players in the summer and Diop, the 2002 World Cup star who joined from Lens in the summer of 2004, believed this was essential.
He said: “Certainly if we have the ambition to be a top-10 side next year the club will have to bring in good new players in the summer.”
The 28-year-old is set to make only his second Craven Cottage appearance of 2006 on Saturday when Charlton are the visitors.
African Nations Cup commitments kept him away for a while and then he was injured, to Coleman’s great annoyance, in a friendly with Norway.
Pressure was placed on the player to put club before country and Diop was relieved it is not a pressing issue at the moment.
He said: “I have spoken to them but it is not easy. But the situation now is that I am able to concentrate on my club commitments because Senegal do not have a fixture until next year now.
“During the friendly game against Norway one of their players fell on my foot and it became bruised and swollen. It was a strange type of injury because I was away from the actual action of the game and standing stationary – he just fell on my foot.
“It was incredibly frustrating being out for so long and not being able to help my team-mates on the pitch.”
Victory would all-but confirm Fulham’s top-flight status and Diop was hoping to mark his new contract with a goal.
He said: “It will be a typical derby and I feel it will be an interesting and great game. We have to try to get the one win that will keep us up and then carry on doing well for the rest of the season, taking it one game at a time starting on Saturday.
“I would be pleased to play well and give something back to the supporters so it would be great to score a goal for them. They appreciate everything that the team and I do so now it is time to give them something back, starting on Saturday.”