Coleman confirms Diop stay
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chris Coleman says Papa Bouba Diop has decided against leaving Fulham.
Chris Coleman says that Papa Bouba Diop has decided against leaving Fulham in the January transfer window.
The Senegal international had been heavily linked with a move to Wigan after suffering a number of injuries at Craven Cottage this season.
Coleman had grown frustrated with the fitness problems affecting the former Lens man, but Diop now looks set to remain with the London side until the end of the season at least.
His manager says the all-action midfielder has decided to stay at Craven Cottage to fight for his place in the first team, with the signing of Simon Davies and imminent arrival of Alexei Smertin further increasing competition in Fulham's squad.
"[The January transfer window has] been fruitful for us," said Coleman. "Normally they're going away but this time they're coming in.
"That's four players in, Papa Bouba Diop has also decided against a move and we've been crying out for competition for places.
"Four months ago he was one of the first names on the sheet but he's been injured and has lacked consistency since he came back from the African Nations Cup.
"I've told him we've got new players in and to get back in the team and stay there he'll have to be at his best."
Coleman has also hailed the prospective signing of Russian international Smertin who could be confirmed as a Cottagers player before Saturday's FA Cup tie with Stoke.
"He's had a few contractual problems with his club in Russia but he's still played every game, so we got in at the right time," Coleman added.
"Half a dozen other clubs in the Premiership wanted his services so it's a feather in our cap that he wanted to come to Fulham.
"Jose (Mourinho) liked Alexei but he wanted to play regularly and Chelsea couldn't guarantee that. He did a good job at Portsmouth and he's a player I've admired for some time.
"Claude Makelele is the best in the business in that defensive midfield position but Alexei is first class."