Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has attempted to force through a move to Arsenal by handing in a transfer request, Fulham manager Mark Hughes has revealed.
Schwarzer’s impressive performances between the posts for the Cottagers throughout last season brought him to the attention of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who had a £2million bid for the Australian rejected in May.
The Frenchman has since hinted that he would be willing to make a second bid for the 37-year-old, who would provide competition for the inconsistent Manuel Almunia and unproven Lukasz Fabianksi.
Schwarzer is keen for a taste of Champions League football before the end of his career, which has led him to hand in the request.
“My understanding is that he has handed in a transfer request,” said Hughes.
“He has indicated that he would like the opportunity to leave. Obviously we haven’t encouraged Arsenal to come back to the table because they haven’t been back since May.
“If they do come back and talk to me or my chief executive, then further conversations will be had but at the moment there is no point because we are not talking to anybody because they have not come back to us.”
Hughes warned Schwarzer that he would not necessarily be guaranteed first-team football at Arsenal and even admitted that he would be willing to offer the Australian an extension to his current contract, which expires next summer, in order to persuade the star to stay.
“Sometimes it is not always greener on the other side,” Hughes said.
“I understand that at certain times of their careers players feel that when an opportunity presents itself, they feel they have to consider it very carefully.
“I think that is the case with Mark so I fully understand where he is coming from in that respect.”
When asked about the prospect of offering Schwarzer a new contract, Hughes said: “I am sure that is something that will be discussed. I haven’t been part of that process.
“We certainly don’t want Mark to leave. We want him to be happy here. We will try and ensure he will be.”
Hughes, who takes his side to Bolton for his first competitive game in charge tomorrow, also confirmed he is interested in signing Manchester City’s want-away striker Craig Bellamy.
Bellamy’s exit from Eastlands moved a step closer today when City boss Roberto Mancini confirmed a rift between the pair before admitting the 31-year-old would be excluded from his 25-man squad for the season.
Hughes feels he can bring out the best in the fiery striker, who he has coached previously with Wales, City and Blackburn.
“I’m sure I’d bring out the best in him,” said Hughes.
“He is one of the top players in the Premier League and the league would be weaker if he left.
“Last year I think he came second to Carlos Tevez in the player of the year so I think that tells you about the affection in which he is held in the hearts of the Manchester City fans.
“It seems he is not in the current manager’s plans suddenly and it looks like he is going to move on.
“I don’t think he should be embarrassed by the work he has done at Manchester City. In fact I think he should hold his head high and stick his chest out and be very proud of what he achieved there.”
Hughes also confirmed that he is interested in a move for Benfica defender Rafik Halliche.
“We are trying to get him over on Sunday to get him into training,” said the Welshman.
“We are hoping he is going to be a player that will enhance us but it’s not a deal that has been concluded to any great stage yet so we have to wait until we get him over. It’s likely to be a permanent signing.”
Hughes also hopes to conclude a deal for AZ Alkmaar striker Moussa Dembele in the next 24 hours.