Reports from Australia claim that Fulham are closing in on signing Mark Viduka on a free transfer.
The Australian striker apparently flew to London to meet with Roy Hodgson (although I thought the Fulham manager was scouting in Poland last night) straight from his holiday in Croatia to discuss a move to Craven Cottage. He was expected to join Portsmouth, our first opponents in the Premier League, but the south coast club’s precarious financial situation put paid to the deal.
Viduka, whose contract with Newcastle expired in the summer, seems close to sealing a switch to Fulham as the report says that he will soon be having a medical with us. I’m not as anti this move as some Fulham fans. We are desperately looking for a new striker and, if the medical team can get him fit and, as long as we aren’t shelling out extrortionate money on his wages, this could be a smart – and cost-effective deal. In World Cup year, Viduka will be keen to prove that he is worth a place in the Australian squad for South Africa. He’s always looked pretty threatening against us, would be a real handful for opposition defenders and has plenty of Premier League experience.
Viduka first burst to prominence in England with a successful spell at Leeds after sealing a £6m move from Celtic, where he had 35 goals in 48 appearances. The big man scored 72 goals in 166 matches in a four-year spell at Elland Road before signing for Middlesbrough for £4.5m. He scored 42 goals in 102 games for Boro before controversially joining their North East rivals Newcastle on a free transfer. His injury-hit spell at St. James’ Park saw him manage seven goals in 40 appearances over two years.
Viduka made his international debut for Australia and captained his country as they reached the second round of the World Cup in Germany in 2006. He has scored 11 goals in his 43 caps, but still seems unlikely to make the plane to South Africa with continuing doubts over his fitness.