Jol: Hangeland could leave Fulham

Brede Hangeland
Hangeland has been a towering presence in the Fulham defence in recent seasons. Photo: PA

Martin Jol denies Fulham keep selling their best players but admits Brede Hangeland may be an enforced exception.

The Cottagers were hit by two significant departures at the end of the summer transfer window, losing top scorer Clint Dempsey and playmaker Mousa Dembele.

But their exits were sweetened by the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United and also Sascha Riether, Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega.

Jol is confident Fulham will be in a position to prevent any further departures, but accepts the future of defender Hangeland hangs in the balance.

"Our culture is that we always like to keep the players we want to keep," he said.

"I don't know where the story that our star players are going is coming from.

"We always want to improve and don't tell anybody else, but I believe that's what we did in the transfer window.

"With Dembele it was different, he left three days before the transfer window closed after promising he'd stay.

"Then he left and I didn't have time to do anything, so that's why we had to go for 35-year-old Giorgos Karagounis, and he's doing well.

"We spoke to Clint 18 months before his contract expired, but he wanted to go to a Champions League club.

"So believe me, there isn't a situation where a lot of my best players would go.

"Berbatov has two years, Petric one year and an option, so that is fine and Rodallega was a free transfer. Riether has an option.

"Brede is the only problem, but we've been talking to him for the last five or six months.

"But we've made him a good offer so if he wants to stay that would be fantastic."

Hangeland will marshal Fulham's defence in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

It has been talked of a must-win match for the Royals, who are still searching for their first league triumph after seven matches.

Victory could potentially lift Fulham into the top four, but Jol believes points will be hard to come by against a team that is in a false position.

"Reading's results are always close and they have a few players who can make a difference," he said.

"They need a result and so we will have to play well and work hard to get a result there.

"It's probably more important to them than us because they really need a win to turn the corner.

"They've had a difficult schedule of fixtures and could be higher."