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Diop joins Portsmouth

Portsmouth have won the race for the signature of Fulham 29-year-old midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.

He has joined the south coast club for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the region of £3m, on a three year deal.

Pompey boss Harry Redknapp has been tracking the imposing midfielder for much of the summer and has finally landed his man.

The £2.5 million rated Senegal international, who had been told by Cottagers’ manager Lawrie Sanchez that he could leave Craven Cottage after he stated he was seeking a new challenge.

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp was said to be anxious to bring in the physically imposing Diop to link up in central midfield with summer signing Sully Muntari.

Diop said he had a number of offers to choose from, and Newcastle United were one of the clubs linked with him. So too were Birmingham City, Sunderland and Everton.

This evening Diop told the Pompey website “It’s nice to be here.” “It’s a good move for me and a good move for the club.

“It was an easy decision to make and I am very happy.”

Diop added: “Three years ago was the first time I’d come to England and I didn’t understand English football very well.

“Now I understand it very well and i’m happy that I’m at Portsmouth.

“It’s different to Fulham. The fans here are hot for 90 minutes.”

The Senegal international made 70 Premier League appearances for The Cottagers after joining from French side Lens in 2004 and signed a new contract just last year.

He came close to a £5 million move to Wigan in January, but that transfer fell through.

Diop set for Fulham departure

Portsmouth are leading the chase for Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, according to a Sky Sports report this afternoon.

The Senegalese international has been told by Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez that he can leave the club and Diop is now considering his options.

The likes of Newcastle, Sunderland and Birmingham are keen – but Pompey have made their move and are in pole position to conclude a deal.

“I told the new manager in the summer I wanted a new challenge and now he has said yes,” said Diop. “He said ‘now this is my team so if you want to leave go ahead’.

“I have many offers and I am just waiting. I will stay in England in the Premier League. I have had a good pre-season and I’m ready. I’m just waiting. I don’t know if it will be anyone like Arsenal or Manchester United but I have good teams in England interested and I must wait. I don’t want to say who they are yet. But I do expect to have left Fulham by the time the transfer window closes.

“I want a fresh challenge. And now the clubs know how much money Fulham want. But I don’t have any control over that. I am just focused on my job.”

Newcastle want to nick Diop

Sam Allardyce is ready to launch a shock £3million bid for Fulham’s Papa Bouba Diop, according to the Daily Mirror.

Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez has spoken of his willingness to hold on to the Senegalese powerhouse.

But Bouba Diop, 29, is desperate for a new challenge and Allardyce hopes the lure of Newcastle will be decisive.

The Senegal midfielder appeared close to leaving the club in January when he was offered the chance to join Wigan Athletic.

He rejected a move to The JJB Stadium and subsequently featured in Fulham’s season end efforts to avoid relegation .

Diop wants to prove his worth

Papa Bouba Diop is determined to prove himself to Fulham manager Chris Coleman.

The Senegal midfielder appeared close to leaving the club in January when he was offered the chance to join Wigan Athletic.

He rejected a move to The JJB Stadium and has subsequently featured in Fulham’s last six matches.

Diop produced a solid display in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Wigan and is keen to press his claims to Coleman over the coming weeks.

Though the international break will halt the midfield powerhouse’s recent good form, he remains focused on proving his worth at Craven Cottage.

“Although there is a break from matches this weekend, I will still be here working hard at the training ground and preparing for the Portsmouth game,” Diop told the club’s official website.

“My target was to return from injury and get back into the team as quickly as possible.

“Now that I have achieved that, my objective is to get fitter, stronger and focus on the next game – I want to prove myself in the remaining matches.

“I was happy with my overall performance on Saturday and tried to win as many balls in the air as possible.

“Now that I have managed to play a few matches in succession I am keen to get stronger and play even better in the remaining eight games of the season. I am confident that I can continue to perform well.”

Diop ready to seize second chance

Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop is determined not to waste his second chance at Fulham as he prepares for Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash with Tottenham.

The towering Senegal midfielder is back in favour at Craven Cottage after being frozen out for almost two months, during which it looked like he would be sold to Wigan or Portsmouth.

But the 29-year-old, who was also troubled by a thigh injury during that time, returned as a substitute at the start of the month, brilliantly setting up striker Brian McBride’s winner against Newcastle before starting at Bolton last Sunday.

Diop, whose bite could be vital against Spurs, with skipper Michael Brown ruled out through suspension, is ready to put the frustration of his spell on the sidelines behind him.

He said: “I’m sure it was frustrating for a lot of people when I was out.

“I know the manager was frustrated but, believe me, nobody was more frustrated than me.

“I wanted to be playing regularly and I am always at my happiest when I’m fit and available to play. It was always playing on my mind when I was injured.

“Unfortunately, injuries are something that you have to accept in football – they are a common feature of the game.”

Diop has now returned to a midfield bristling with competition for places.

The January transfer window saw manager Chris Coleman swell his midfield ranks with the additions of American Clint Dempsey, Wales star Simon Davies and Russian ace Alexei Smertin.

And although Smertin, who made his Fulham debut as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Bolton is particularly likely to challenge him for a place in the starting line-up, Diop insists: “He is a great signing, a very experienced player.

“I played against him in France when I was at Lens and he was at Bordeaux. Then I played against him when he was at Charlton. He is a very good player and I look forward to playing with him.

“More competition for places is great. You always have to compete and I thrive on competition. It is something that I have become used to. Having good players around you spurs you on.”

Diop’s dream is to run out at the new Wembley.

He said: “As a kid I always used to watch the final at Wembley. And now that the final is going to the played in a fantastic new stadium, it’s an extra motivation.

“I want to do everything possible to make sure that we get there.”