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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 13:44 GMT
Coleman hopeful on Inamoto
Junichi Inamoto
Inamoto has impressed at Fulham
Fulham are closing in on a deal to sign on-loan Japan midfielder Junichi Inamoto on a permanent basis.

The transfer had looked doubtful, with the 24-year-old's Japanese club Gamba Osaka thought to be asking for 2.5m.

But Cottagers boss Chris Coleman said: "I think the news is they might come down in their asking price.

"I don't think the gap is as far as it was, something could be done. I am a lot more optimistic than I was three weeks ago but we will have to see."

Inamoto is in his second season on loan with Fulham, an arrangement which has already cost the west London side 2m.

But Coleman thinks that is money well spent, adding: "We would love to have him here next season.

"He has proved to himself that he can play in the Premiership and if we could do a deal with Gamba Osaka I would be delighted."

Meanwhile, the Fulham boss says he is set to extend his own contract - as long as assistant Steve Kean can agree terms.

"Hopefully this week Steve should be sitting down with our chief executive and that should be sorted out within the next few days," the 33-year-old said.

"It has dragged on a bit, but I am 99% there and can't envisage any problems.

"But it is important that Steve is happy with the things on the table for him. The lads have taken to him and we are very much a partnership - it is both of us or neither."

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