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Fulham head the list of Premiership clubs preparing to compete for Julio Arca’s signature as it begins to look increasingly likely the popular South American will leave Sunderland at the end of the season.

Stefan Schwarz – the 25-year-old’s agent – insisted at the weekend that a clutch of managers are keen to hand Arca a top-flight lifeline this summer and with the player having admitted that he does not want to endure Championship football again, it seems as though his six-year career on Wearside will end with the club’s impending relegation.

Tottenham, who have spent all season monitoring the Argentinian’s form, are desperate to sign a left winger but with money no object at White Hart Lane, Martin Jol is expected to pursue several more high-profile targets before firming up his interest in the Black Cats favourite.

And that could leave the way clear for Chris Coleman to make his move .

Former Black Cats midfielder Schwarz has insisted that his client has turned down several approaches during his career on Wearside, the last of them during the January transfer window, and no-one could blame a player who spent two seasons as a marked man in the Championship following Sunderland’s last relegation should he decide to leave at the end of a calamitous campaign.

“I know what it’s like to play in the Championship, and I don’t want to return,” said Arca in February.

Arca has got great affection for Sunderland and, if he does depart this summer, it will be with deep regret. But with Schwarz adamant that a number of European clubs have also shown an interest in the talented wide man it seems inevitable that he will leave the club he has served so well since his £3.5m move from Argentinos Juniors in 2000.

Given the uncertainty of life at the Stadium of Life – the Black Cats have no permanent manager and takeover rumours persist, with former fans’ favourite Niall Quinn preparing an offer he hopes Bob Murray can’t reject – the club’s chances of persuading Arca to remain are slim.

Fulham will hope a £1.5m bid is enough to prise Arca away.