Jol: We won't let Pogrebnyak slip through our fingers
Published 16:33 22/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Fulham manager Martin Jol is confident of tying up a deal to keep Pavel Pogrebnyak at Craven Cottage, despite interest from Aston Villa and Sunderland.
The 28-year-old was drafted in on January transfer deadline day to fill the void left by Bobby Zamora's move to QPR, but few could have predicted the on-loan striker's impact.
Pogrebnyak has netted five times in as many games for the Cottagers, leading to reported interest from rival Barclays Premier League clubs and some further afield.
The Russia international will be a free agent at the end of the season when his contract with parent club Stuttgart expires and Jol believes he could well stay in west London.
"Yes, [I am confident of signing him permanently]," he said.
"I told him yesterday and he wanted to come to my office at one o'clock today, but I now realise that is impossible because I am here at the press conference.
"I want to speak to him first [before sorting out a contract].
"I think he wants to stay because Pavel knows football. Things were not always easy for him but now he is the main striker for us. Hopefully he will appreciate that."
Pogrebnyak was not the only player whose future was under the spotlight at today's press conference to preview the clash at Manchester United on Monday.
Jol confirmed talks have begun to extend the deal of centre-back Brede Hangeland, whose contract runs out in 18 months.
Clint Dempsey's deal expires at the same time but the Fulham boss was coy when asked about whether discussions had begun with the United States international.
"We want to keep him but we have time on our side," Jol said.
"We have a year from June, which is why I tell you we have time on our side. It depends on him as well, maybe he wants to wait."
Asked again whether a deal was being discussed with the Texan, he said: "We are talking to players and we have got time on our side. It is not about now, tomorrow or next week.
"If the time is right, if we come to a solution with those players, I will tell you."
Jol was more forthcoming when asked about Dickson Etuhu's future at the club.
Reports emanated this week with quotes attributed to the Nigeria international indicating he was set to leave the club and did not get on with Jol.
Etuhu quickly issued a denial via the club's official website, but Jol was not overly concerned.
"It is always the same," he said. "There is always a couple of players who are not playing on a regular basis that are not happy.
"The strange thing with Dickson is that we get on very well. Two hours after the comments were made in the paper he came up to me and says he wants to stay.
"He wants to play here, he wants to fight for his spot and I like the boy.
"It is always the same. You have to keep your mouth shut and then at the end of the season you can tell me what you want.
"If you want to play, we can find a solution but with Dickson it was never a situation.
"Maybe a couple of months ago when he was unhappy he told someone in Nigeria - I don't know where it came from - but he has issued a statement on the website.
"But even if hadn't put something on the website, it is no problem with me because I can get on with him very well."