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Fulham are close to completing a loan deal to bring Brighton centre back Shane Duffy to Craven Cottage, according to the Athletic.

The 30 year-old Derry-born defender, who has won 55 caps for the Republic of Ireland, made twenty appearances for Albion last term – scoring a single goal – and spent the second half of the previous season on loan at Celtic, with whom he won the Scottish Cup. The 6ft 4in centre half came through Everton’s academy, making ten senior appearances, before joining Blackburn in 2014 following loan spells at Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil.

Duffy established himself as one of the best defenders outside the top flight in two and a bit seasons at Ewood Park, making 69 appearances and scoring seven goals. He joined Brighton for £4m in August 2016, helping them win promotion from the Championship in his first season, and quickly became an integral part of the Seagulls’ defence. He forged a fine partnership with Lewis Dunk – missing just one league game – as Albion comfortably avoided relegation, finishing fifteenth. Duffy, who played a vital role in establishing the Seagulls as a top flight side, has racked up 150 appearances, scoring nine goals, and becoming a fans’ favourite on the south coast – having been voted the club’s player of the season in 2019.

Fulham’s move for the experienced defender on the eve of their opening game of the season was necessitated by a failure to bring in centre backs to supplement Tosin Adarabioyo and Tim Ream over the summer.