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Fulham ready to move for Newcastle United defender
FULHAM are ready to test Newcastle United's resolve to hold on to Danny Simpson, even though the full-back claims he would like to stay at St James' Park.
Simpson has been at loggerheads with the Newcastle hierarchy over his refusal to sign a new contract for the best part of 12 months.
Alan Pardew is reluctant to lose the 25-year-old, who was one of his first-team regulars last season, but accepts that he may to move Simpson on this summer if the current impasse is not resolved.
Simpson is about to enter the final year of his current deal, and managing director Derek Llambias does not want to find himself in a situation where the defender can leave for nothing in a year's time.
A number of Premier League clubs have been monitoring the situation closely, and Fulham are poised to turn up by the pressure by tabling a formal approach.
Martin Jol is keen to overhaul his squad this summer, and has made the acquisition of a new right-back a priority.
Stephen Kelly filled the role for the majority of the campaign, but Jol sees Simpson as an experienced and reliable campaigner capable of rivalling the Irishman for a first-team place.
The Fulham boss has been promised money to spend this summer, and his hand could be strengthened if Moussa Dembele, who has been linked with a possible move to Manchester United, leaves for a substantial fee.
Newcastle officials will not let Simpson leave on the cheap, but there is a determination not to cave in to his demands for an improved deal.
The defender has been offered around £25,000-a-week, a significant improvement on his current contract, but still a level below many of the club's more highly-paid performers.
Simpson remains hopeful a resolution can be reached, and insists he is not making unrealistic demands.
“I'm not a greedy player and I just want to be on par with the other players around me,” he said. In football terms, what I'm asking for is by no means outrageous.
“I want to stay at this club and I've been saying that all season. I've recently had a baby, I'm happy here and so is my family.
“Hopefully, me and the club can find some solution. I want to stay, but if I have to move, then I will accept it and move on.
“But it's a great club with 50,000 screaming Geordies at the game every week. Why would I want to leave? There is speculation but I want to state, like I have all season, I want to stay.
“Over the last two years I've played nearly 80 games and started most of them. I'm not being greedy, this club is on the up, the manager and staff are brilliant – I want to stay.”
* Chelsea's Champions League success might mean Tottenham entering next season's Europa League, but it does not affect Newcastle's standing in the competition. Subject to formal ratification later this week, the Magpies will still enter the final play-off round on August 23 and 30. They should learn the identity of their opponents at a draw on August 10.
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