Jol Turns His Back On Ajax To Join Fulham

Martin Jol is on his way back to London and the Premier League as the new manager of Fulham. The Dutchman has succumbed to Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed’s considerable powers of persuasion and decided to quit Ajax for Craven Cottage. Jol’s appointment as Roy Hodgson’s successor is scheduled to be confirmed on Monday and is a major coup for Fayed.

It had been felt Fulham could not compete with Jol’s £2m wages at Ajax, but Fayed has made an offer the 54-year-old former Tottenham boss could not resist, including supplying the finance to compete for new players, while Ajax are considering selling two of their World Cup stars, Luis Suarez and Gregory van der Wiel. One of the first of these arrivals could be Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has the same agent as Jol and is on his way out of Barcelona.

Jol’s decision was greeted with surprise in Holland, where his team finished just behind Steve McClaren’s FC Twente in the Dutch League despite a goal difference of more than 100.

"No one here can understand how you leave Ajax for a club like Fulham. It is shocking to us. We recognise the English club want to progress, we accept they were Europa League finalists and we know they are right that Jol can maintain their run of success. But Ajax are a club with a reputation as one of Europe’s greatest, past and present and in the future. To walk away from such a club at such a time is an extraordinary decision," said a source in Holland.

Jol was a late entry for the job after Hodgson’s move to Liverpool, with former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson and Switzerland’s German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld the favourites while USA World Cup coach Bob Bradley was also in the frame. But Fayed had his eyes firmly on the Dutchman, who was controversially forced out of Spurs in 2007 after guiding them to successive fifth places.

Jol has become increasingly frustrated by a lack of spending money and Ajax demands that they sell his best players. The Amsterdam club have suffered what for them was a massive loss in excess of £20million last season and claimed the only way they can recover financial stability is by weakening the squad through player sales. In the past two weeks, Jol has looked on as Ajax entertained a £20million approach from Bayern Munich for Van der Wiel while letting Denmark winger Dennis Rommedahl move to Olympiakos. It had been made clear that he could lose Uruguay hit-man Suarez in the next few days.

Jol, who kept the home he bought during his time at White Hart Lane, said: "The board (Ajax) told me that everything was going to be all right. But it clearly is not. To me that is a big disappointment."

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