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Thursday 17 January 2002

Fulham boss Jean Tigana claims he has failed to recruit more top foreign stars because they have never heard of the Premiership new boys.

Tigana, backed by Mohamed Al Fayed's millions, built on Kevin Keegan's work as Fulham won promotion and established themselves in the top flight.

But Tigana feels he has been forced to suffer transfer market disappointment because Fulham's progress has failed to register abroad.

Fulham have spent more than £25.4m to bring French aces Alain Goma, Louis Saha, Steve Marlet, Steed Malbranque and Sylvain Legwinski to the capital.

And he pulled off his biggest coup by persuading Holland goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to quit Juventus for Fulham.

Tigana, however, spoke of his "disappointment" after the collapse of the £7.5m swoop for Valencia forward John Carew after he failed a medical.

And he is concerned by the men who have turned him down.

"It is very difficult to sign the right new players. In England, many people know Fulham - but in foreign countries, they don't know us.

"This makes it very hard," he said in the match programme for the FA Cup third round tie with Wycombe Wanderers.

"The prices are also often very expensive. It is important we find a good solution for the club - not only for one year but also in the long-term."

Fulham faced a new injury problem after their 1-0 win, when Louis Saha left the field with a broken nose and blood splattered across his shirt after a collision with Chris Vinnicombe. He now faces 10 days on the sidelines.

After the match, Tigana's assistant, Christian Damiano, backed his sentiments over their transfer market frustration

"We're trying all the time, but it's difficult," he said. "After the Middlesbrough game on Saturday, everybody was happy because we had three strikers, but now the situation has changed quickly and we have only two."

Former Lyon forward Marlet, now back in action after a compressed knee fracture, had sympathy for his team-mate Saha.

He said: "I asked Louis how he was and he said he thought his nose was broken. He scored in the last game, so now - as you can imagine - he's disappointed.

"I was injured for two months, so I know it's very frustrating for him to also get injured."