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Fulham face fight to sign resurgent Inter striker Gabigol

18:47 GMT 03/01/2019
Gabigol Santos 2018
The Brazilian rediscovered his best form in 2018 after a tough introduction to Italian football, with Premier League clubs now circling

Inter are prepared to let Gabriel Barbosa go out on loan once more after the youngster relaunched his career in 2018, with Fulham among those leading the way in the battle to sign him.

Barbosa, dubbed 'Gabigol' in his native Brazil after bursting onto the scene as a teenage sensation, joined Inter in 2016 from Santos.

He failed to settle in Italy, however, playing just a handful of games in his debut season and subsequently disappointing in a temporary switch to Benfica.

A move back to Santos saw him rejuvenated over the past 12 months , with Barbosa finishing as Serie A's top scorer with 18 goals to help the Peixe gain a Copa Sudamericana spot.

And now, Goal understands, he will again be offered out on loan by Inter in the hope that the 22-year-old will continue to fine tune his play, with Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez both ahead of him in the pecking order at San Siro.

The Nerazzurri, however, stipulate that only teams that are willing to cover the full cost of Gabigol's wages - some €3.5 million per season - will be considered as potential suitors.

And while the January transfer window has recently opened two sides in particular are willing to accept those terms: Fulham and Brazilian giants Flamengo.

Fulham currently find themselves in a tense battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League, currently sitting second from bottom in the standings four points adrift from safety.

A lack of goals, moreover, has contributed to that malaise; the west Londoners' tally of just 19 goals in 21 outings is superior only to Huddersfield and Newcastle United's strike-rate to date.

But while Gabigol is a big fan of English football, June's Copa America is weighing heavy on his mind.

The striker believes that spending the next campaign in Rio de Janeiro with Flamengo, who finished second to Palmeiras in 2018 and will dispute this year's Copa Libertadores, would be more beneficial to his Brazil chances than a relegation dogfight.

Inter and Flamengo remain in negotiations, with the cost of a prospective deal causing an early stumbling block.

The Italians are looking for a fee before releasing Barbosa for the next year in order for the loan to run to the end of the Brazilian season, a condition that did not go down well in Rio.

West Ham also remain keen as they look to bolster their own forward line, though they are unwilling to match Inter's wages demands.