Fulham target Daniel Cousin has claimed he is relieved that a proposed £3million switch to Craven Cottage from Rangers did not happen.
Six weeks of negotiation ended in frustration for Fulham over the weekend when FIFA finally blocked Cousin’s transfer despite the two clubs having agreed a fee.
The Gabon international striker has already played for two clubs this season, Rangers and French side Lens, and FIFA rules forbid a player appearing for a third side.
The world governing body’s decision is another blow to Roy Hodgson’s struggling side whose inability to score goals — Saturday’s 3-0 defeat against Manchester United means they have managed two in their last six Premier League games — is the principle reason why relegation is looming.
FIFA’s decision was also expected to disappoint Cousin who had expressed a strong desire to join the Cottagers while training with Hodgson’s squad during the January transfer window.
However, with Rangers still chasing trophies on four fronts and Fulham looking increasingly likely to lose their Premier League status, 31-year-old Cousin has changed his tune.
His agent, Willie Mackay, revealed: “The truth is we’re glad the saga is all over. In fact, Daniel has already spoken to Rangers manager Walter Smith and told him he’d prefer to stay at Ibrox rather than go to Fulham.
He thought at first that going to the Premiership would be a big opportunity for him, but he has realised he has a far greater chance of achieving success at a club like Rangers.”
Without dramatically improving Fulham’s scoring record, it is difficult to see how Hodgson will achieve his optimistic target of at least five wins from their final 10 games.
Six of those fixtures are away from home, and Fulham have yet to win on their travels this season. Indeed, they have only taken maximum points three times in total since the campaign started. The gulf in class between the bottom and the top of the table was exposed on Saturday through a delightful Owen Hargreaves free-kick, Ji-Sung Park’s close-range header and a Simon Davies own goal. United, who could afford the luxury of starting with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, won at a canter.
Hodgson said: “They can make life difficult for any opponent when they’re in the mood to play like that. All l can say is that we stuck to our task pretty well and I can’t fault the lads for effort.
“I suppose we’ve got to say our season starts now. Ten games is quite a lot, it is more than 25 per cent of the season left, and I believe the players have shown that they’re working hard to play the type of football we think will be good enough to get us out of trouble.”