Mohamed Al Fayed has vowed to back Mark Hughes in the January transfer window after venting his fury over Fulham’s humbling by Manchester City.
The flamboyant Fulham chairman was angered by his side’s meek performance and voiced his frustration at manager Hughes on Sunday night following the 4-1 defeat at Craven Cottage.
However, the 77-year-old did not leave it there and took it on himself to address the firstteam squad and staff personally at training on Tuesday.
Al Fayed is understood to have scolded the players over a dip in form which has seen them plummet to 17th in the Barclays Premier League – level on points with third-from- bottom Wigan – and said that they should be building on their displays of last season when the team received rave reviews as they reached the Europa League final.
His words of warning shocked some of the squad but he was keen to show support for Hughes, 47, whom he values as a shrewd manager.
Recognising that injuries to key players such as Bobby Zamora have had an effect on the team, Al Fayed said he is willing to help Hughes strengthen the squad and bankroll a January spending spree which the former Manchester City boss believes can push them into European contention.
Hughes has concerns in attack, wide midfield and at goalkeeper, where Mark Schwarzer has yet to commit his future to the club and, even if he does, is likely to be missing for most of January as he joins Australia for the Asia Cup.
Hughes has made no secret of his admiration for Manchester City’s Shay Given and want-away striker Roque Santa Cruz, and Shaun Wright- Phillips may also come into consideration.
He is also close to agreeing a £3million deal with Romanian champions Cluj for 6ft 8in Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore.
The 20-year-old could have a medical next week.
Fulham scouts have been monitoring Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele, Tranmere’s teenage winger Dale Jennings and Freiburg striker Demba Cisse.
Aston Villa’s Luke Young has been watched and they want a right back, despite Chris Baird’s return from injury last Sunday.