Chelsea star could help Fulham stave off relegation

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Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen is preparing to enter negotiations with local rivals Chelsea in a bid to bolster his squad.

According to The Guardian the former Manchester United coach has enquired about the availability of left-back Ryan Bertrand and is keen on bringing in the 24-year-old as part of his January transfer business.

Bertrand has been on Chelsea’s books since leaving Gillingham as a youth player in 2006 but has rarely featured for the Blues.

Loan spells at Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest have given the player enough experience to make him an attractive option but he remains surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

With César Azpilicueta battling Ashley Cole for a first team berth Jose Mourinho looks set to allow Bertrand to pursue other avenues and with Craven Cottage just a short distance away from the Bridge the move seems to make sense.

The Cottagers have had a turbulent season thus far with former gaffer Martin Jol being replaced by Meulensteen after a run of bad results.

However, the managerial switch has not had the instant impact many desired and the west London outfit find themselves just two points above the drop zone – a position that may not prove too enticing for a man with two England caps and a desire to remain in the top flight.

However, the new Cottagers number one is well regarded thanks to his efforts under Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford and if Bertrand can be persuaded to make the switch expect the 7/4 on Fulham to be relegated to drift as the weeks go on.

Meulensteen is also said to be keen on Brondby striker Simon Makienok but faces competition from London rivals Crystal Palace.

The 23-year-old has netted 28 times in 60 games since joining the Danish club in 2012 and could be available for around £3m.

Fulham will be in need of a striker if Dimitar Berbatov ends his stay at the Cottage as expected and at 6ft 7” the Dane would certainly provide something different for the Lilywhites going forward.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.