Fulham have vowed to move quickly to appoint a new manager after Martin Jol confirmed yesterday he will be staying at Ajax. The Dutchman had been in discussions with the English Premier League club over replacing Roy Hodgson, who took over from Rafael Benitez at Liverpool at the start of this month. But Fulham's hopes of securing their man have been dashed after Ajax made it clear they did not want the former Tottenham manager to leave.
A statement on Fulham's website read: "On Thursday morning, 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."
Ray Lewington will remain in caretaker charge but, with the new Premier League season starting in less than four weeks' time, Fulham are under pressure to get a new man in. Jol, who lead Tottenham to consecutive fifth-place finishes in 2006 and 2007 before being sacked after a poor start to the 2007/08 season told the Ajax website yesterday: "Ajax let me know they didn't want me to go. And I don't think I can bring myself to leave Ajax at this time."
Martin O'Neill, the Aston Villa manager, admitted yesterday that James Milner wants to leave the club. The midfielder has already been the subject of a rejected bid from Manchester City following a brilliant season last term, which earned him three starting appearances in England's doomed World Cup campaign. O'Neill told a press conference ahead of Villa's friendly with Bohemians in Dublin tomorrow: "I had a conversation with James before the World Cup and he intimated that he'd like to go."
City had an offer believed to be around £20 million (Dh111m) turned down by Villa in May, with the Midlands club thought to be seeking in the region of £30m for the 24-year-old. O'Neill added: "City made an offer but it did not meet our valuation. I'm sure matters will be resolved soon. James is back next week having had an extended holiday." Meanwhile, Dan Gosling vowed to repay Newcastle's faith in him after completing his move from Everton yesterday.
The highly rated 20-year-old has signed a four-year deal after the promoted club stepped in to exploit a loophole in his contractual situation at Everton. Gosling told the club's official website: "It's a brilliant move for me. Now that the deal is done, I just can't wait to get started" Gosling began his career at home-town club Plymouth and won a £2m move to Everton in January 2008, where he made his mark with an extra-time winner over arch-rivals Liverpool in an FA Cup fourth-round replay.
However, he was able to move on a free transfer after Everton failed to follow up a verbal contract offer with a written one. Elsewhere, Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, has asked the club's fans to give prospective new signing Titus Bramble, 28, a chance to prove himself. The Wigan defender is finalising his move to the Black Cats with opinion in Sunderland divided following his infamous blunder-plagued spell with derby rivals Newcastle.