Fulham look at new options
Fulham will rethink their search for a new manager today after top target Martin Jol reluctantly agreed to stay at Ajax. The Cottagers had agreed terms with the former Tottenham boss but Ajax refused to let Jol leave, bringing negotiations to an abrupt halt.
It was a frustrating turn of events for both parties, with Jol keen on a move back to England and Fulham eager to get their man installed three weeks after Roy Hodgson left Craven Cottage for Liverpool. But chief executive Alistair Mackintosh must now go back to the drawing board and mull over targets that could include the likes of Cardiff boss Dave Jones, Alan Curbishley and Mark Hughes.
In a statement yesterday, Fulham pledged to appoint a new manager as soon as possible, saying on fulhamfc.com: "Following talks with Ajax, the club can confirm that it has ceased negotiations for the release of Martin Jol from his contract with the Dutch club. Although Fulham had agreed personal terms with Martin Jol, Ajax were not willing to allow him to leave under any circumstances, and have held him to the terms of the contract he signed last summer.
"Since Roy Hodgson indicated that he wanted to leave Fulham, a shortlist of potential managers was identified, and the club is committed to ensuring that the right candidate is brought on board to continue the club's progress, in the soonest timeframe possible. The chairman and CEO would also like to personally thank Ajax for their conduct throughout this very public process."
Ray Lewington remains in caretaker charge of Fulham, who are looking to build on the momentum achieved under Hodgson that saw them qualify for Europe for the first time and reach the UEFA Europa League final.
Jol, who led Spurs to fifth-placed finishes in 2006 and 2007 before being sacked the following season, has become frustrated by financial constraints at Ajax and made clear his desire to return to the Premier League. He told Sky Sports: "I like Fulham, I like London, I like England, so I was a bit disappointed I had to say no because the board don't want me to go under any circumstances.
"He (Mackintosh) was offering me a good job at a good club with good honest players. I was willing to go there but I'm on a contract. We spoke about it for hours. It took a long time, which was probably not good for Ajax, and I had to tell them (Fulham) I had to stay. All these problems, going to court, I don't want that."
Jol signed a three-year deal with Ajax on his arrival from Hamburg last summer and led the Amsterdam club to second place in the Eredivisie behind Steve McClaren's Twente Enschede. But Marko Pantelic and Dennis Rommedahl have already been sold and there has been speculation star names Maarten Stekelenburg, Luis Suarez and Gregory van der Wiel are also on their way out.