Premier League

Fulham seal Stekelenburg deal

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Wed, 05 Jun 2013 21:27:00

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has started restructuring his squad for next season by releasing five players.

Experienced centre-back Richard Dunne leaves Villa Park have spent last term out of action with because of hip and groin problems.

Dunne's only appearance came last week when he made a substitute appearance for Ireland in the 4-0 victory over Georgia.

American defender Eric Lichaj made 23 appearances for Lambert's team this season having had spells on loan at Lincoln, Orient and Leeds in previous campaigns.

Veteran goalkeeper Andy Marshall has been part of the Villa squad since 2009 without breaking into the team.

Midfielder Jean Makoun has been on loan for most of his two years at the club, most recently with Rennes, and he is expected to join the French club on a permanent basis.

And attacking midfielder Simon Dawkins returns to Tottenham after his spell in the Midlands.

The 30-year-old Holland international has long been linked with a move to the London club, where he will be reunited with compatriot Martin Jol, who was previously his manager at Ajax.

The deal casts further doubt over the future of long-term Fulham number one Mark Schwarzer, who may now look to leave the club before the start of the new season.

Stekelenburg, who has been capped 54 times by Holland, becomes Fulham's fourth signing of the summer following deals for Sascha Riether, Derek Boateng and Fernando Amorebieta, and is pleased to be linking up with Jol once again.

"It's good that I'll be joining Martin again,'' he told the club's official website.

"He knows my capabilities very well, so I am just looking forward to joining up with the team in pre-season and enjoying some time with them prior to the new season starting.

"I am very happy to be joining Fulham and to have everything sorted out so early in the summer, so I can really focus on preparations for playing in the Barclays Premier League next season.''

Jol, who guided Fulham to 12th place last season, believes his newest signing will adapt well to English football.

"Maarten Stekelenburg is a fine quality goalkeeper who I know well from my time working with him at Ajax and, of course, as the Dutch international goalkeeper I have always had an additional interest in his career,'' he said.

"I am sure that he will do well here at Fulham in the Premier League. He is a player of great quality and technical ability whose distribution and ability to react quickly and read the game is exceptional; he will be a fantastic addition to the talented team of keepers that we already have.

"I am delighted that he was so keen to come to join us and am very happy with the way that the summer is shaping up in terms of our signings, so on the whole I'm ever so pleased.''

Schwarzer's future now seems to lie elsewhere, with the 40-year-old, who came close to a move to Arsenal in 2010, unlikely to sign a new deal to sit on the bench at Craven Cottage.

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