Fulham manager Martin Jol has been given the green light to land prolific Trabzonspor forward Burak Yilmaz, as the Cottagers plot a summer overhaul of their striking options.
In a season that has seen Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie all score goals for fun, little known Yilmaz has kept pace, bagging 32 goals in 30 matches for Turkish Super Lig outfit Trabzonspor, having previously endured a journeyman career with Antalyaspor, Besiktas, Manisaspor, Fenerbahce and Eskisehirspor.
Dutch tactician Jol has been receiving glowing scouting reports on the 26-year-old since the start of the season, and despite Arsenal, Ajax, CSKA Moscow and Rubin Kazan all making checks of their own in recent weeks, he is confident Fulham can convince the player to reject big money elsewhere and move to London.
Indeed, a deal seemed a formality last month, when Yilmaz’s representatives told Fulham that the player had set his heart on a move to the Premier League, citing it as a perfect platform to earn a regular spot in the Turkish national team.
However, a fortnight later, they had backtracked, and demanded a huge signing on fee to secure a transfer, leading to a furious Jol publicly pulling the plug, by rubbishing his interest in the striker.
The Cottagers’ open threat worked – and Yilmaz’s people are now happy to complete the switch, if Fulham can agree a deal with Trabzonspor – something that is the only sticking point at present, with a fee in the region of £6 million being talked up – a far cry from the £4 million Jol wants to pay.
Fulham officials are expected to meet with their Turkish counterparts before the end of the season, and after being given the financial green light from owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, they are confident an agreement can be found. .