Drobny steps into van der Sar's gloves
Czech goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny will fill the void left by Edwin van der Sar's departure for Manchester United after completing his move to Fulham today.
Drobny had signed a pre-agreement with the Cottagers in January and he finalised a three-year contract following a successful medical this afternoon, joining for an undisclosed fee from Greek club Panionios.
Fulham boss Chris Coleman began his search for Van der Sar's replacement in January after the Dutchman had been linked with a transfer to Old Trafford - which was concluded today - and identified Drobny as a suitable replacement.
The former Czech Republic Under-21 international has big shoes to fill - Van der Sar has been one of the Barclays Premiership's most consistent keepers since arriving at Craven Cottage in 2001 - but Coleman believes he has the talent to succeed.
He said: 'I'm delighted to welcome Jaroslav to Fulham. He has strong positional play and great defensive organisation.
'He has played in the UEFA Cup competition and is calm under pressure so I know that he will be an asset to us. I'm very much looking forward to getting everyone together in pre-season.'
Drobny made 18 appearances for the Czech Under-21 side between 1999 and 2002. He has landed a place in the All-Star Greek league team for the last three seasons and faced Newcastle and Barcelona, among others, during his two UEFA Cup campaigns.
Veteran Mark Crossley will provide Drobny's only competition for the goalkeeping duties at Fulham, but the 25-year-old insists the battle for the number one jersey is no foregone conclusion.
'I'm very happy to get the opportunity to play for Fulham in the Premiership. It's my ambition to compete at the very highest level and I'm looking forward to joining the rest of the squad for pre-season training,' he said.
'I've spoken with Chris Coleman and I'm confident that if I perform well enough that I will be in his plans for next season, so I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead.'
Drobny is Fulham's second acquisition of the summer after Australian international midfielder Ahmad Elrich agreed terms yesterday, arriving from Korean club Busan Icons also for an undisclosed fee.