Sound moves

Friday 31 August 2001

Tigana could be described as a shopaholic after breaking three club transfer records inside a month.

He has signed six players in August at a total cost of £32.3 million, making the previous highest of £4m he paid for Newcastle defender Alain Goma in March appear small change.

Midfielder Steed Malbranque and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar became record buys for a few days at a time before Marlet breezed in two days ago.

Tigana has also brought in Sylvain Legwinski, Jon Harley and Abdeslam Ouaddou this month.

With FIFA's new transfer system set to be introduced on Saturday, there was good reason for Tigana to complete his summer spending by the end of the month.

Contracts signed before Saturday should not be affected by the transfer changes which are set to reduce players' commitments to clubs.

But Fulham would have been happy to back Tigana regardless after his First Division triumph last season and have promised him more funds if needed.

'Jean always says that we have been out of the top division for 33 years and all he is doing is trying to make up for lost time,' said managing director Michael Fiddy.

'He said from very early on that he needed four or five players to strengthen the squad and we were trying to bring in the relevant players all summer.

'Some of the negotiations took a long time and we had to wait for players to become available but everyone we have bought has the highest technical ability and the right mentality to fit in the team.'

Fiddy made eight European flights in one week in pursuit of players and said Fulham were linked with more than 130 players during the summer.

With Mohamed Fayed as chairman there was no shortage of financial backing but Fiddy added: 'Like every other club we would rather not have spent large quantities of money but there is little choice when you are trying to buy quality players.

'I think we have paid the right price for all the people we have bought and we have got them all on long-term contracts. Hopefully, we will not have to continue to invest at this level.'