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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Fulham agree deal for Swiss keeper Zuberbuhler

Fulham have completed the signing of Switzerland goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuhler on a one-year contract.

The veteran goalkeeper, who has been training with the Cottagers for three weeks, is manager Roy Hodgson's 10th capture of the summer after arriving from Neuchatel Xamax.

There is almost certain to be an 11th with Fulham waiting to close revised negotations over striker Andrew Johnson's move from Everton..

Swiss keeper Zuberbuhler, 37, has played in England before with West Bromwich Albion two years ago and is likely to provide cover for Australian international Mark Schwarzer who signed on a free transfer from Middlesbrough in June.

Zuberbuhler played in Switzerland's final group match of the Euro 2008 championship against Portugal and has made 51 appearances for his country.

He made his senior debut for Zurich club Grasshopper in 1992, making 187 appearances in a seven year spell until moving to FC Basle, from where he briefly joined Albion in July 2006 but made only 15 league starts before being released.

He moved back to Switzerland with Neuchatel where the much-travelled Hodgson had been manager between 1990 and 1992.

Zuberbuhler told Fulham's official website: 'I'm very happy to sign for Fulham. I've already spent three weeks with the team and we have a very good squad for the new season.

'I know they had a very hard season last year, but I'm confident that this season it will be much, much better. I'm coming here to be successful.

'I know also the situation here with the goalkeepers. I've known Mark Schwarzer for a long time and played against him in the past. I know he's the number one, but I'm here to give my best.'

With last season's first-choice Kasey Keller now retired, Antti Niemi likely to miss the start of the season after more surgery on a wrist problem and Tony Warner given a free transfer to Premier League newcomers Hull, there are still plenty of goalkeeping options for Hodgson, who also brought in up-and-coming David Stockdale from Darlington for around £500,000.

But he knows he still has to beef up his strike force despite the arrival of Bobby Zamora from West Ham and is determined to land England international Johnson from Everton despite a medical scan showing up potential worries over an old ankle injury.

Reports are circulating that Fulham have succcessfully negotiated a lower price for the player for whom Everton are said to want a £10.5million down-payment plus add-ons.

But a Fulham spokesman said: 'There is nothing official yet but the transfer negotations are ongoing and it is the club's policy not to announce transfers until they are completely sealed.' Meanwhile, New Fulham signing John Pantsil has welcomed the signature of Fredrik Stoor by the club despite the prospect of competing for a position with the Swedish international.

The 27-year-old Ghanaian joined the Cottagers from West Ham last month along with team-mate Bobby Zamora in a joint deal worth £6.3million, while Stoor was signed more recently as manager Roy Hodgson continues to build his squad ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season.

Stoor, who played all Sweden's matches at Euro 2008, replaced Pantsil at half-time in Fulham's 1-1 draw with Birmingham City over the weekend and the Black Stars right-back admits he is ready to fight for his place.

'I play for the national team and he does but I'm not scared,' Pantsil told www.ghanasoccernet.com.

'I'm going to do what I can do best and at the end the coach will decide.

'I love the challenge and that will help me improve my game. We have only begun the season and so let's wait for the league to start.'

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