Manchester City are set to return with an improved offer for Fulham’s French midfield man Steed Malbranque after seeing their initial bid of £4m bid turned down.

City boss Stuart Pearce has money to spend following the £21m departure of Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea for £21m.

“I can confirm the club has had a substantial bid rejected by Fulham, for French international midfielder Steed Malbranque,” a City speoksman said.

“It is disappointing but we still retain a strng interest in the player.”

Malbranque joined Fulham from Lyon for £5m in August 2001. He has scored 38 goals in his four seasons with Fulham.