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Fulham have been told they can sign Sami Hyypia — if Liverpool secure a replacement.

Anfield manager Rafa Benitez is desperate to add another defender to his squad with Manchester United’s Gabriel Heinze still his leading target.

But with Alex Ferguson blocking the deal, Benitez is looking at other options before he lets Hyypia, 33, go for around £1.5million.

Fulham chief Lawrie Sanchez has already had one bid knocked back.

But Benitez knows the big Finn is keen for a move to Fulham.

It would guarantee him regular first-team football and see him link up with his friend, Antti Niemi — who will be fit in a week after scans revealed he has not broken his wrist.

Sanchez has warned his new-look side he is ready to swing the axe again at Craven Cottage.

He has brought in eight new players and said: “The ones I think can take us on will be here next summer, the ones I think won’t, won’t.”