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By ESPN Staff
Jul 13, 2006

Malbranque won't leave on the cheap - Coleman

Fulham boss Chris Coleman last night spelt out his reasons for planning for life in the Premiership without midfielder Steed Malbranque.

The Cottagers are resigned to losing Malbranque, with Newcastle, Middlesbrough and West Ham possible destinations for the French midfielder.

Malbranque has been sent to train in Austria with the youth team as Coleman does not want any disruptive influences hampering the senior squad in Devon.

The player turned down a new contract in May and Fulham are desperate to recoup a transfer fee - around £5million - before he is able to leave on a free next summer.

And Coleman explained: 'We paid a lot of money for Steed.

'He's been a very good servant and a very good player for this club - but we have been good for him as well.

'We've looked after him too and I'm disappointed it has come to this because we've done everything we can.

'We've offered him a new, lucrative deal but it was turned down flat.'

The Welshman added on BBC London 94.9: 'We need to find a replacement and Steed won't be part of our first-team squad.

'I've made that clear to him. There's been no big fall-out - he knows where we are coming from.

'I have to sign a replacement but for the club's long-term future we can't let one of our best players walk out of the door for nothing.'

Coleman remains optimistic he will make two more signings, having already swooped to land Swedish striker Bjorn Runstrom and Leyton Orient defender Gabriel Zakuani.

He explained: 'I'm looking for two more experienced faces because our thoughts for next season are to finish in the top 10. I think it's possible to do that.

'The Premiership is the toughest league in world and we know that - you can easily get sucked into a relegation battle but we've never really been in the bottom three or four.

'We need to take the next step. We were three points off the top 10 and we didn't invest in the squad until January.

'We've got a strong squad at the moment. I don't want to put pressure on the players but I think we're only a couple of players short of being a top-10 team next year.'