Claudio Ranieri is interested in becoming the permanent Fulham manager – after Kevin Keegan and Sven-Goran Eriksson rejected approaches from Mohamed Al-Fayed to assume the Craven Cottage hotseat.

Al-Fayed made overtures to the two ex-England bosses before he sacked Chris Coleman a fortnight ago. Both turned down the Egyptian multi-millionaire but former Chelsea manager Ranieri has expressed an interest in taking over at the Cottage if Fulham remain in the Premier League. Ranieri still has a house in west London and has been a frequent spectator at Fulham home games since he was sacked by Chelsea three years ago.

The Italian, currently employed on a short-term contract until the end of the season by Serie A strugglers Parma, has kept in close contact with Al-Fayed. Lawrie Sanchez remains confident that he will be offered the job permanently should he keep Fulham in the top flight – but the club are considering several contingency options. Al-Fayed is understood to be wary about Sanchez combining his international commitments to Northern Ireland with the Fulham job – but he may be spared an awkward showdown as Sanchez has only taken a single point from his first two games in charge.