Bristol City have reached an agreement to sign Fulham’s Liam Fontaine on a permanent basis following a lengthy chase to secure his services.
The 20-year-old defender – who played 15 games after joining the Robins on loan in January – will undergo a medical at Ashton Gate on Monday before putting pen to paper on a two-year deal.
“I am absolutely delighted we have been able to sign Liam, although I was always confident we’d get him because he wanted to join Bristol City,” Robins manager Gary Johnson said.
“He’s a very good player and he was a tremendous acquisition for us during the second half of last season. I’m sure that now he’s here on a permanent basis he will prove to be a great asset.”
City are still in negotiations with Fulham over a fee for the former England youth international but may see compensation set by a tribunal.
Bristol City chairman Steve Lansdown has revealed that the club are still negotiating a fee for defender Liam Fontaine with Fulham.
The 20-year-old’s move to Ashton Gate has been delayed after Crewe had a bid for his services accepted by the Craven Cottage outfit.
But Lansdown remains confident that Fontaine, who spent a spell on-loan with the Robins last season, will still make the permanent switch to the west country.
“We have agreed personal terms with Liam, but are still in negotiations with Fulham about compensation. We hope to conclude the deal next week,” he told the club’s official website.
Bristol City target Liam Fontaine has been offered a new contract by Fulham.
But the Robins have not given up in their attempts to sign the promising defender. Fontaine spent the second half of last season on loan at Ashton Gate and was very impressive.
The news that Fulham are keen to re-sign the Londoner, who is out of contract, is initially surprising.
The 20-year-old has only played one game for their first-team and seems unlikely to figure in boss Chris Coleman’s long-term plans.
However, Fulham’s move allows them to demand compensation for the player from any interested club as he is under 24 years of age and would not qualify for a Bosman free transfer.
City manager Gary Johnson said: “At the moment the deal is not totally dead. We are still hopeful of having Liam here.”
Fontaine is believed to want to sign for Johnson, having enjoyed his football under him at both Yeovil Town and City.
But the Robins may be reluctant to pay a fee for a player Fulham did not want before his success with the League One club.
Bristol City boss Gary Johnson today clinched his first new signing of the transfer window by recruiting Fulham defender Liam Fontaine on loan until the end of the season.
The 20-year-old left-sided player is well known to City’s manager, who twice signed him on loan for Yeovil Town.
Fontaine goes straight into the squad for tomorrow night’s Coca-Cola League One clash with in-form Colchester United at Layer Road.
Gary told bcfc.co.uk: “Liam was immensely popular at Yeovil and is a player I rate very highly.
“Other clubs have been chasing him, but he wanted to come and play for me again. He can play in central defence or at left-back and is a good distributor of the ball.”
Beckenham-born Fontaine came through the youth ranks at Fulham and has represented England at Under-16 and Under-17 level.
He made his Premiership debut as a substitute in a 3-3 draw at Southampton last January and then started an FA Cup third round tie against Watford. Shortly afterwards he joined Kilmarnock on loan.
During his two loan spells with Yeovil, Liam formed a strong centre-back partnership with Terry Skiverton.
His contract at Fulham expires at the end of the season so he could be available on a free transfer in the summer.
Liam has been handed squad number 25 by City – the number allocated to striker Guy Madjo earlier this season before his move to Forest Green Rovers.
Yeovil Town boss Steve Thompson will seek to extend the loan deal of Liam Fontaine at Huish Park. The Fulham player has been highly-impressive for the Glovers in League One.
Versatile defender Fontaine is set for talks with Thompson in the coming days.
Thompson said: “Liam and I are going to be discussing the extension of his loan this week.
“He has still got a month left but it’s something I would like to resolve sooner rather than later.
“I want Liam to stay and I just need to speak to Liam and to Fulham.”
Thompson confirmed Fontaine will not feature in tonight’s League One clash at Brentford.
He has been recovering from an ankle injury and a bout of gastroenteritis which saw him lose some weight.
The Fulham man is hoping to be in contention for Saturday’s trip to Rotherham.