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Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 16:43 UK

Arsenal interest disrupting Fulham's Mark Schwarzer

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Schwarzer unsettled by Arsenal offers - Hughes

Fulham manager Mark Hughes said Arsenal's pursuit of Mark Schwarzer is unsettling the goalkeeper.

The Gunners, who had a £2m bid turned down in May, repeated the offer on Thursday, according to Hughes.

Schwarzer handed in a transfer request this week but Hughes said he wants the 37-year-old to stay at Craven Cottage.

"Mark is aware of the interest of Arsenal. That knowledge is distracting and disruptive. It's not at all inevitable he will leave," said Hughes.

"We wouldn't encourage an improved bid."

The Australia international was omitted from Fulham's squad to face Bolton for the first game of the season last week, although Hughes said injury was to blame for the keeper's absence.

However, Hughes is reluctant to sell Schwarzer, who has a wealth of Premier League experience having made 450 appearances over 13 years.

We certainly don't want Mark to leave. We want him to be happy here. We will try and ensure he will be

Fulham boss Mark Hughes

"There wasn't an improved offer from Arsenal - it was exactly the same one that was put forward in May," said the Welshman.

"The situation hasn't moved on. There's been contact but no improved offer.

"I don't know if Arsenal are trying to disrupt him. There are many things clubs, players and agents do to unsettle players."

Schwarzer joined Fulham in May 2008, leaving Middlesbrough after 11 years at the club and has played 100 times for the Cottagers.

He caught the eye last season with a string of impressive performances as Fulham reached the Europa League final, eventually losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made his intentions clear about signing Schwarzer, who would provide competition for Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianksi at the Emirates Stadium, but does not want to pay a huge fee for a player in his late 30s.

606: DEBATE
Captain_Morgan

And Schwarzer is keen for a move to north London for what would be his last chance of playing Champions League football.

But Hughes warned Schwarzer that he would not necessarily be guaranteed first-team football at Arsenal and admitted he would be willing to offer an extension to his current contract, which expires next summer, in order to persuade the star to stay.

"I am sure that is something that will be discussed," said Hughes last week. "I haven't been part of that process.

"We certainly don't want Mark to leave. We want him to be happy here. We will try and ensure he will be."



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see also
Fulham pair scoop monthly awards
05 Mar 10 |  Fulham
Hodgson praises Schwarzer effect
17 Apr 09 |  Fulham
Fulham complete Schwarzer signing
22 May 08 |  Fulham


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