It could be a busy day down at Motspur Park today. Reports from Holland this morning, now echoed in the English papers, tell us that Moussa Dembele (pictured left), who had previously been expected to join Birmingham in a £5m deal, is set to sign for Fulham instead.
The Daily Mail says that’s down to the direct intervention of new manager Mark Hughes and quotes Blues manager Alex McLeish from yesterday conceding defeat in his bid to sign the 23-year-old forward. The Belgian international, a key part of the AZ Alkmaar side that won the Eredivisie in 2008-09 despite missing a few months through injury, can also play on the wing and is expected to complete his move to Fulham over the next few days.
It’s way too early to start speculating on Dembele’s position in the side but it’s unlikely that Hughes will have moved to bring in such a promising prospect without considering him a part of the first team. Dembele’s versatility should give him an opportunity of regular football, although whether that would be alongside Bobby Zamora in a 4-4-2 or part of a more fluid 4-3-3 formation remains to be seen.
The Mail report also adds that Fulham hope to conclude the deal for Algerian centre back, Rafik Halliche, which we revealed was close earlier in the week, today but that they have been refused a work permit for Chelsea’s Serbian defender Slobodan Rajkovic.