By Wayne Veysey
Fulham have opened preliminary talks with Roma about a summer deal for goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Londoners failed in a deadline-day bid to land the Netherlands No.1 in January but have made another move and have been told during initial discussions that the asking price for the 30-year-old will be €6 million (£5.1m).
It is believed that Stekelenburg is keen to leave Serie A and move to London despite an upturn in his form following the exit of former Roma manager Zdenek Zeman in February.
The Dutchman flew to England on the last day of the January window to complete a loan move to Craven Cottage until the end of the season but the Giallorossi pulled the plug on the deal when he was at Heathrow airport after failing to land a replacement in time.
“The channels of communication have stayed open since January,” a source told Goal.com. “The two clubs are in talks about a permanent move. Stekelenburg is playing better since the change of manager but he wants to leave Roma. He doesn’t speak Italian and the environment doesn’t really suit him.”
The Serie A club have already begun lining up a replacement for the Dutchman and are believed to be concentrating their recruitment efforts on the Brazilian market – one keeper on their shortlist is Corinthians’ Cassio Ramos.
Fulham have prioritised signing a new goalkeeper after agreeing a deal for Athletic Bilbao central defender Fernando Amorebieta, who has signed a pre-contract agreement with the west Londoners ahead of a free transfer in the summer.
The Cottagers have offered a one-year contract extension to long-standing No.1 Mark Schwarzer but the Australian, who turns 41 in October, is mulling over whether to stay on after being told that a new goalkeeper will be coming to the club this summer.