Fulham have reaffirmed their desire to keep playmaker Tom Cairney at Craven Cottage by placing a £20m price tag on the Scottish international, according to the Sunday Mirror.
It was widely rumoured that the Londoners had successfully warded off persistent interest from Championship leaders Newcastle United by quoting a potential fee of that magnitude in December – and the Magpies boss Rafa Benitez was flabbergasted by Fulham’s hefty valuation of their prized asset. Perhaps the Spanish coach would have realised why Slavisa Jokanovic rates the 26 year-old midfielder so highly after he opened the scoring with a 25-yard screamer at St. James’ Park in the Whites’ 3-1 win earlier this month.
The Sunday Mirror reports that Fulham have reiterated that it will take an offer in the region of £20m to even consider the prospect of Cairney, who made his international debut in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Canada in midweek, leaving Craven Cottage. Head coach Jokanovic, who penned a two-year extension to his Fulham contract last month, has long earmarked Cairney as the key member of his current squad, handing him the captain’s armband on a regular basis this season in the absence of veteran Scott Parker.
Cairney last week told journalists that he felt he was in the form of his life and demonstrated his skills on the highest stage by turning in a man of the match performance after finally being selected for international honours by beleaguered Scottish coach Gordon Strachan. The left-footed midfielder, who has scored nine goals in 42 appearances for Fulham this season, has thrived in a pivotal central role as Fulham’s switch to Jokanovic’s preferred possession-based philosophy has sparked a late surge towards the Championship play-off places.