Fulham are favourites with BetVictor to land influential Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie this January despite the two sides' contrasting fortunes.
According to the bookmaker, Fulham are 2/1 to land the 25-year-old as Derby County and Crystal Palace complete the top three in the market, both priced at a fairly long 12/1.
Just before the January transfer window opened, Fulham manager Kit Symons responded to links between his side and Ritchie by insisting that as far as he knew there was nothing in them. However, he did concede that the winger was an excellent player and that he expected teams to show interested.
“No, not as far as I know,'' Symons was quoted as saying in the Bournemouth Echo when asked about Fulham's interest in Ritchie.
“He is an excellent player and in really good form so I am sure a host of clubs would be interested in him but he is very much a Bournemouth player and playing for a team at the top of the league.”
The midfielder, who has six goals and 11 assists in the Championship this season, has been linked with lucrative moves to other clubs in the past 12 months, most notably Derby, who have been priced at 12/1 to sign the winger this January.
Despite no changes in personnel to the wide positions at the East Midlands club, Derby are well stocked in that area, both in numbers and quality, so it would be surprising to see them go back in for the player. However, given his recent form and the position of the two clubs, who knows.
It could be a hard job for McClaren to convince Ritchie to jump ship halfway through the season when both clubs are in a similar position, but it may be even harder for Fulham to tempt the talent away from a side who are flying high.