Cookie: Wayne's a Bridge too far
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chris Coleman claims there is little chance of him signing Wayne Bridge permanently.
Fulham manager Chris Coleman has revealed there is little chance of him signing Wayne Bridge on a permanent basis.
The England international is on loan to The Cottagers from West London rivals Chelsea and has earned the ringing endorsement of Coleman following a series of impressive displays.
But the manager claims the chances of Blues coach Jose Mourinho allowing him to leave are slim and, even if the Portuguese did give the nod to a move, it is doubtful whether or not The Cottagers could afford the fee for a player signed for £7 million just two-and-a-half years ago.
"If we could afford Wayne I'd make him my first signing, without a shadow of doubt," admitted Coleman. "But I don't think we can afford him, and Jose Mourinho has made it clear to me this arrangement is not about us signing Wayne permanently. It's a loan deal and he wants him back.
"So unless Jose says to me that there is a deal to be done, I wouldn't push it any further. I wouldn't disrespect him when he's already been good enough to
give Wayne to us like this.
"From Chelsea's point of view I can see what they're trying to do - Wayne's had a nasty injury and he needs to get fit. But Jose's made it clear that Wayne
is a big part of his plans in the future so I wouldn't disrespect him and try and push for a permanent deal.
"But he's with us for the season. I'm not going to comment on what's going on up the road with regard to left backs, but he's definitely with us until the end
of the season."
The Welshman has also championed the full back's cause for a starting place at the World Cup and has suggested that Sven Goran Eriksson should utilise the former Southampton man in tandem with Ashley Cole in a bid to resolve the Swede's troublesome left midfield position.
"For me, Wayne and Ashley are the two best left-backs in the country," said Coleman.
"Ashley's a wonderful player and I'd actually play the pair of them - Wayne at left back and Ashley further forward.
"I'm not trying to tell Sven how to do his job - it's just my opinion. I think Cole is marginally better going forward, but I think Wayne is a better
"He has a better positional sense and he plays off the centre-back much better. Ashley is so quick his pace gets him out of a bit of trouble sometimes.
"But that said, I also think Wayne is very strong going forward as well.
"Maybe I'm biased, but if Wayne keeps doing what he's doing, he's got to be a must for the World Cup, surely. If you look at his form for us, he's been
fantastic. All he has to do is keep fit."