Fulham are ready to meet Joe Bennett’s release clause by offering Cardiff City £2m for their left back as they seek defensive reinforcements ahead of the new season, according to a Daily Mail article this lunchtime.

The Whites had a longstanding interest in the former Middlesbrough and Aston Villa defender having tried to tempt him away from south Wales last summer. Bennett elected to stay with Cardiff and became a pivotal figure as the Bluebirds won automatic promotion ahead of Fulham this season and Neil Warnock hopes the left back will repeat that decision even if he decides to talk to the Londoners.

Fulham, who are also expected to try and step up discussions with Southampton over a possible permanent move for last season’s loan signing Matt Targett, are believed to be able to offer Bennett a more substantial wage package than his current employers. The 28 year-old, who has been at the Cardiff City Stadium since joining a free transfer in August 2016, has a year left on his current deal and made 40 appearances for Warnock’s men last season, scoring three goals. He also hit the headlines for a vicious tackle on Leroy Sane in Cardiff’s FA Cup defeat by champions Manchester City.

Bennett, who turned down a move to the capital last summer after holding talks with Fulham, would provide much-needed depth at left-back for the Whites ahead of their Premier League return, with teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon having started in defence at the beginning of the 2017/2018 campaign. It was only with the arrival of Targett, a January loan capture from Southampton, that head coach Slavisa Jokanovic felt comfortable to push Sessegnon further forward on a regular basis.