Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez met owner Mohamed Al-Fayed yesterday to plan a drastic overhaul of the club’s squad and head off a potential dressing-room revolt.
Sanchez, 47, secured Fulham’s Premiership status with four points from their final five games after being brought in as caretaker when Chris Coleman was sacked in April.
Former Northern Ireland boss Sanchez, who quit his international post last Friday when he was named Coleman’s full-time successor, is now anxious to shake up Fulham’s squad.
Sanchez hopes to sign at least six players, including Leeds striker David Healy and Aston Villa midfielder Steve Davis, who have both excelled under him at international level.
But Sanchez’s uncompromising management style has been a massive culture shock a Fulham squad used to Coleman’s more relaxed attitude at Craven Cottage.
And just as vital to Sanchez, who has already released Claus Jensen, Tomasz Radzinski and Mark Crossley, is shipping out the club’s disgruntled players who are thought to include Papa Bouba Diop, Collins John and Alexei Smertin.
There has been considerable disquiet among Fulham’s players at Sanchez’s direct tactics and several stars are unhappy with the training sessions put on by coach Lies Reed.
Some players claim the new boss is aloof – pointing out Sanchez and his backroom staff didn’t eat with them at the hotel as is customary the night before Fulham’s final game of the season at Middlesbrough, where they lost 3-1.
But Sanchez insists he was having a quiet get-together with his coaching team instead to congratulate them on keeping the club up and that his absence was not intended as a snub.