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Marseille pulled the plug on Gignac deal

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo has revealed that it was the French club who pulled the plug on Andre-Pierre Gignac’s proposed loan move to Fulham after failing to agree terms with Juventus forward Amauri.

Gignac, out of favour at Marseille just a year after his big-money move from Toulouse, flew over to London yesterday to finalise a season-long loan to Fulham and looked set to side for Martin Jol’s side after the London club agreed to pay his £60,000-a-week wages in full. But the deal fell through after Amauri backed out of a potential move to the Stade Velodrome and Gignac headed back to Marseille.

Amigo said:

Amauri wanted to come, but after he did some thinking it stalled and he did not arrive. With Fulham there was an agreement but the deal was not confirmed. It was close to the deadline.

In order not to take any chances we stopped the negotiations and Andre-Pierre Gignac returned to Marseille. He was OK with signing for Fulham and it seemed to please him. But he is back with good intentions. We talked and he intends to continue his career.

UPDATE: Here are some quotes from Gignac, who seems a little annoyed at not being able to join Fulham.

Last Tuesday I was asked by the club to come and talk with my agent. We were told l’OM wanted to sign a forward so they would then be listening to offers for me.

We were told about Olympiakos and Fulham. I decided to listen to the London side. We went there and immediately we felt their interest was concrete and serious. We were interested. We spent the evening with coach Martin Jol and his wife.

On Wednesday we had a medical. It was a wonderful welcome. So on Wednesday it was all okay. Fulham agreed with l’OM. At 11.30 pm [CET] they called me to say I have to go back to Marseille because my forward replacement would not come.

I was in London so called to help l’OM sign a forward, but it could not be resolved. Three minutes after calling me to come back to Marseille, I was called again as there was an opportunity to go to Sunderland. I could not reply yes to Sunderland and no to Fulham, because l’OM just made the decision of a swap deal with Gyan.

At Fulham they wanted me. I didn’t see anyone at Sunderland. I’m not a mercenary. I’m not angry, but I have a bitter taste in my mouth.

Marlet hopes to stay at Marseille

Steve Marlet is hoping to win a permanent move to Marseille from Fulham after a successful loan spell at Stade Velodrome.

The French international, who has been included in his country’s squad for Euro 2004, has spent the last season on loan at the French club after falling out-of-favour at Fulham.

Marseille are keen to renew his loan for another season, but Marlet wants the club to sign him on a permanent basis.

“I really hope to remain at Marseille next season,” Marlet told L’Equipe. “We all agree. There is just a detail to settle. I am much more interested in a transfer than a loan. But I am keen to put it in brackets – it won’t spoil my Euro finals.”

Marlet’s inclusion in the France squad has come in for some criticism from some quarters and the striker rejected rumours that his past experience with coach Jacques Santini was the only reason he was given a place in the squad.

“Stop with that! It is true Santini knows me. But I was already there with Roger Lemerre,” added Marlet. “And there is only one Lyon player in the list. I am above the scepticism. However it hurts me people ask more questions about my selection for 2004 than my non-selection for 2002. When the 2004 list came out, people suddenly asked themselves some questions. So it hurts me.”

Marlet close to Marseille deal

Fulham striker Steve Marlet has revealed he is close to agreeing a new deal to prolong his stay at Marseille. Marlet joined the French club on a season-long loan last summer after falling out of favour with Fulham boss Chris Coleman.

The French international has impressed during his time at Stade Velodrome and is keen to stay at the club.

Marlet admits the move depends on whether a deal can be struck with Fulham.

“It is almost settled. I want to stay, there is a real sport project here,” Marlet told L’Equipe. “I had a lot of injuries, but I want to make up for it at the end of the season and next season. But we have to find an agreement with Fulham.”

Marlet craves permanent Marseille move

Fulham striker Steve Marlet has admitted he wants to make his loan move to Marseille a permanent one.

The French forward played his part in l’OM’s Uefa Cup success over Liverpool recently and is enjoying life at Stade Velodrome.

“In my contract with l’OM there is a clause to renew the loan and I hope to remain here,” he told Marseille’s official website.

“A year is too little. I want to work for continuity with this club. I want to succeed with Marseille next year and achieve what we have not been able to do this season. My priority always remains Marseille, the championship and the Uefa Cup. I know very well that my performances alone will decide if I participate.”

Marlet has been troubled by his thigh problem and admits he could be kept out of Saturday’s clash with champions Lyon, one of his former clubs.

Coleman wants Marlet to stay at Marseille

Chris Coleman is today desperately hoping Marseille do not discard on-loan Fulham forward Steve Marlet and force him back upon the Londoners.

Cottagers boss Coleman had the first major test of his fledgling managerial career in August when he had a major fall-out with French International Marlet.

The two were at loggerheads while the striker kept changing his mind about his commitment to the club paying him £40,000 a week.

The saga ended with Marlet moving to the south of France – but he is yet to convince Liverpool’s UEFA Cup opponents Marseille that he is worth keeping.

The French club will decide at the end of the season whether to extend his loan by another 12 months, sign him for an as-yet undisclosed fee or send him back to England.

If they opt for the latter option, Fulham face the prospect of paying his wages until the end of his five-year contract with them in the summer of 2006.

But Coleman snapped: ‘The way he left at the start of the season left a bad taste in my mouth. I haven’t spoken to him or to Marseille and ideally it would be best for everyone involved if he stays there.’