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Fulham have tabled offers for four centre backs as they scramble to sign players to supplement their meagre senior squad – with Marco Silva admitting the Whites are far from ready for the start of the Premier League season next weekend.

The Cottagers have made both loan and permanent offers for Chelsea defender Malang Sarr as well as increasing their bid for West Ham centre half Issa Diop to £15m. The Hammers are said to be holding out for a different structure to the deal for French defender and would need to sign a replacement given their lack of options due to injuries in the back four. Fulham have also been heavily linked with Fenerbache’s Hungarian international Attila Szalai and are known to have enquired about the availability of Tottenham’s Welsh centre back Joe Rodon as well as Rob Holding of Arsenal.

Silva was brutally honest about the state of his first-team squad following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Villarreal:

“We, as a squad, we are not ready. I have to tell you, and I don’t want to speak for too much time about the situation, I want to be clear with you; now we have 16 senior players in our squad. No-one competes at this level with 16 senior players in your squad.

I will tell you one more. No-one can prepare for one season with just two central defenders. We have two central defenders at this level. I can continue, and I will not stop, but I don’t want to talk more about it. I’m talking because you ask me.

I’m really happy with this group of players that we have. But everyone that understands football can see we need at least five or six more players. That is clear, if you really want to be competitive. These players need help to be competitive in the training sessions every single day.

We cannot be five weeks into the pre-season with two central defenders. We can’t be competitive in this situation and I can talk more positions as well but this will not help at all.”

The Fulham head coach insisted that he has communicated his frustration with chief executive Alistair Mackintosh and director of football operations Tony Khan – and believes they are working hard to sign new players.

“We are all on the same page. We are all in the same boat. My words are not against anyone. Don’t get confused, don’t start to put that Marco is angry. No. I am being realistic with you like I was yesterday with them and two days ago with them. Of course it is a frustrating situation, definitely. But it’s for them as well because they are trying and they are not getting what we want or the players that we should have here right now.

Of course we are speaking every single day with Alistair and of course speaking every single day with other connections. I am doing my best, they are doing their best as well, but we have to act. As I said last week, and I repeat again, we have to act much faster. Pre-season is to prepare your team for the Premier League. Some players that arrive now, they need four weeks to be ready. They need five weeks to be ready. That is the situation.”