Fulham maintain Martin Jol will stay in managerial charge at Craven Cottage next season, despite frustration at the recent run of poor results and questions relating to future direction.
In the past 48 hours the odds on Gus Poyet becoming the club's new manager have been slashed but a Fulham source says they have no intention of bringing about a premature termination to Jol's reign in the summer, having taken up a one-year option they held on his contract last October
But there are areas of uncertainty at Fulham, not least with regard to the expected overhaul of the playing staff and Jol is keen to know whether he will have the financial clout to oversee it to his satisfaction. Of his 23 established players, 10 are out of contract this summer. There is also the fact that Jol's is an ageing squad, with 12 players aged 30 or over.
Jol lost Mousa Dembélé and Clint Dempsey for a combined £21m to Tottenham Hotspur last August and it is natural that he wanted to reinvest the money in full. Instead, he spent a total of £9m in fees on Dimitar Berbatov, Ashkan Dejagah and Kieran Richardson, and in January he made four loan additions until the end of the season – Emmanuel Frimpong, Urby Emanuelson, Eyong Enoh and Stanislav Manolev.
Jol, who is £13m in credit on his dealings at Craven Cottage in terms of fees, has been unable to make certain signings that he pushed for, and he was disappointed to miss out on Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone in January. He has been desperate to sign a midfield playmaker, who can supply the passes for his options farther forward.
It is an indication of how Jol has fought to make ends meet that Mahamadou Diarra and Giorgos Karagounis were signed as free agents outside the transfer windows. Both their contracts expire in the summer, together with those of Mark Schwarzer, Chris Baird, Mladen Petric and the loanees, who include Sascha Riether. The club, though, have the option to take Reither from Köln.
The nagging question regarding Jol concerns his continued appetite to work within the financial strictures at Fulham and, related to that, whether he would be open to a better offer from elsewhere. He has admirers in Germany's Bundesliga, where he previously worked at Hamburg. Following on from that is whether Fulham ought to put contingencies in place. Poyet, who appears ready for a move from Brighton & Hove Albion, has attracted attention from members of the Craven Cottage board.
Fulham saw Jol's predecessor, Mark Hughes, resign in June 2011, citing concerns over the club's ambition, particularly on the transfer market, although his eventual decision to join Queens Park Rangers backfired and he was sacked last November.
In light of the climate at Fulham, it might have been considered a curiosity that they voted against the Premier League's financial fair play regulations but this can be explained by their desire not to appear hypocritical, having been helped by the personal wealth of the chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed. The club feel that it is unfair for the authorities to dictate how money should be spent.
In a tight division, Jol's team have generally steered clear of relegation trouble, playing some eye-catching football in patches and with Berbatov to the fore with his 14 league goals. But they have taken only one point from their past seven matches, which has sapped morale and dropped them to 15th position. They finish the season at Swansea City on Sunday, when they hope to pick up as many as five places with victory.