Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez has revealed he had been keen on signing Martin Petrov until he learned the Bulgarian’s wage demands.
Petrov is expected to line up for Manchester City at Craven Cottage this evening as part of an expensively-assembled side put together at speed over the summer by former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson.
City paid Atletico Madrid £4.7million for the 28-year-old, who has so far failed to score despite plenty of shots, and Eriksson also sanctioned £8million fees for Italian striker Rolando Bianchi and Brazilian playmaker Elano.
Eight newcomers, many of whom were unfamiliar names in England, arrived at Eastlands before the transfer window closed and Spanish defender Javier Garrido, who cost a more modest £1.5million from Real Sociedad, had also once been on the Fulham radar, Sanchez revealed.
He said: “Some of them we had heard of. Garrido we had a look at. When we were looking for left-backs he was one that was mentioned to us. And Petrov was one we were interested in before his wage demands became so large.
“Some of the them were certainly well-regarded but there have been a lot of players coming into the English Premier League that a lot of fans hadn’t known until they got here. But when you are spending £8million you already know you are getting a half-decent player.
“They spent £40million and we spent £24million but we recouped about £12million of that so net-wise it wasn’t as big as it looked.
“I thought this club needed reviving with a lot of new players and likewise at City after their finish last season. When a new investor comes in the first thing they say is “show us your money” and Sven has been the lucky recipient of that.”
Sanchez, who masterminded Northern Ireland’s famous victory over Eriksson’s England two years ago, ended up signing no fewer than 14 players himself, including the man who scored the winner at Windsor Park that night, David Healy.
The former Leeds man, who has two goals so far, had been struggling with a calf problem in recent weeks and was only a substitute in last week’s 1-1 draw at Wigan but is now pushing Diomansy Kamara and Clint Dempsey for a starting place.
Sanchez said: “David Healy is fit and well. He was starting to look a bit tired after so many games in a short space of time. He was in good scoring form but looked a bit jaded. Now he is looking sharp and raring to go again.”