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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Sanchez so impressed with Diop
Papa Bouba Diop
Diop joined Fulham form the French side Lens in 2004

Fulham caretaker boss Lawrie Sanchez claims Senegalese Papa Bouba Diop can become as influential a midfielder as Patrick Vieira.

The 29-year-old has been hampered by injury and loss of form this season.

But encouraging displays against Reading and Blackburn indicate Diop is firing once again.

Sanchez believes the US$2m buy from French side Lens still has a bright future at Craven Cottage and insists he could yet match former Gunners great Vieira.

"I've seen Bouba over the years and he has all the attributes to be a top-class midfielder. He has the physique, strength, ability, engine and height," he said.

"He's very similar to Vieira and when he first came I thought he would be the next Vieira.

"I don't quite know how his career has gone here but if he can show what I think he's got he will be a major asset for Fulham for the future.

"Vieira was probably the best Premiership central midfielder over the last 10 years, alongside Roy Keane, and there's no reason why Bouba can't be one of the best central midfielders in the Premiership."



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