Steed Malbranque has been been sent to train with Fulham’s youth team in Austria after refusing to sign a new contract.

The French midfielder, believed to be a target of Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa and former club Lyon this summer, has been banished from Chris Coleman’s first-team squad and will train with the club’s youngsters until further notice. A club spokesperson is quoted in the Mirror as saying: “Steed obviously is not part of the first-team plans until he wants to sign a new contract. “It is not acceptable for the club so the manager has had to make contingency plans.”

Malbranque has a single year remaining on his current contract and could leave Craven Cottage for free next summer. The 26 year-old, who was the subject of protracted interest from City last summer, has made 211 appearances and scored 49 goals in his five years at Fulham.