Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is close to joining Fulham along with Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson, the London club said on Thursday.

Former Bulgarian international Berbatov was expected to move to Fiorentina but the Serie A team said he failed to turn up for a scheduled meeting in Italy on Wednesday.

"Berbatov is finishing his medical and if everything is good he will be one of our players," coach Martin Jol told the club's website.

"He was on my list all the time - I tried to do something months ago and it didn't come off so I came back and it was the right moment for him to make his decision"

Fulham manager Martin Jol

"There were a lot of clubs interested but we were able and capable of getting him. He was on my list all the time - I tried to do something months ago and it didn't come off so I came back and it was the right moment for him to make his decision."

Berbatov played under Jol when the Dutchman was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur.

The forward left White Hart Lane for Old Trafford in 2008.

The 31-year-old struggled to hold down a place in the United first team last season and seemed set for a move to Fiorentina.

"The player embarked in the company of his agent and with tickets paid by Fiorentina on a direct flight to Florence," the Italian club said.

"But the player never arrived."

Jol also said a fee had been agreed for former England international Richardson.

"We are talking to Richardson and hopefully he will come to us," the Dutchman explained.

"I see him playing as a winger."

Defoe doesn't go

Berbatov's former club Tottenham Hotspur received mixed fortunes on Thursday with centre half Younes Kaboul having a knee operation that will sideline him for four months while striker Jermain Defoe signed a new three-year contract.

"Younes Kaboul has undergone knee surgery in France today. The France defender is expected to be sidelined for four months," the Premier League club said on their website on Thursday.

The 26-year-old was forced out of the European Championship in June because of a serious knee complaint.

Spurs also said on their website that Defoe, who is 10th in the club's all-time scoring charts with 119 goals, had signed his new deal.

The 29-year-old former West Ham United and Portsmouth striker has 16 goals in 49 international appearances for England.

Source: Agencies