sport

Rene coaxing Berbatov to stay

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen believes he has done enough to persuade striker Dimitar Berbatov to remain at Craven Cottage.

Reports from the Bulgarian forward's agent last month suggested he would be pursuing a move when the January transfer window opens.

However, since such speculation, there has been a raft of changes at Craven Cottage - most notably the departure of Martin Jol as manager, with Meulentseen taking the reins.

Fulham are currently languishing in the Premier League relegation zone in 19th, but with only six points separating them from Aston Villa in 11th, points picked up in the Christmas period could change the landscape drastically.

Despite the present outlook, Meulensteen sees a clear desire from Berbatov and feels he has done enough to coax the striker into staying.

"I've had a chat with him and he has shown he is very committed to the games we have ahead," he told the Daily Express.

"We are going to review the situation next month, but I could well have persuaded him to stay.

"I have never really got to the bottom of why he became unsettled. He keeps his cards close to his chest."

The Cottagers carried out a medical with former player Clint Dempsey on Friday with a view to a January loan deal and Meulensteen expects the American's return could also be an influential factor for Berbatov.

"Berbatov will be delighted with that," he added.