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Wigan Athletic have launched a £5million bid for Papa Bouba Diop in a desperate attempt to stop them sliding through the relegation trapdoor.

Boss Paul Jewell has made an approach for the Fulham midfielder, who is set to join the Premiership strugglers on loan for the rest of the season.

Senegal midfielder Diop, 29 later this month, will join Wigan permanently at the end of the season – but only if they beat the drop.

Jewell’s team have lost their last seven games whi ch has seen them drop to fourth-from-bottom.

Diop only signed a new contract last April worth £40,000-a-week making him Fulham’s biggest earner yet has lost his place through lack of form and injury.

Craven Cottage chief Chris Coleman, who would sell Diop, is close to signing Dynamo Moscow’s Alexei Smertin.