The dust has barely settled on what was one of the greatest days in the clubs history on Saturday at Wembley, but now that we know our football destination for next season, the club have a number of decisions to make about the squad in the coming weeks. Out of a squad of twenty-two (I have went with the official websites first team profiles for this number) six of the players are on loan from elsewhere. From the Roy Hodgson era Fulham have heavily relied on loan signings to bolster the squad. Generally this has been very smart business as it allows us to assess who will work in the team and who won’t before paying a substantial fee for them. Loans have undoubtedly been important for us, but it’s the air of uncertainty around their futures that can frustrate both players and fans alike.
Each of our loans are from current Premier League clubs so the question is will those players want a chance with their parent clubs or will they favour a move to the team they have just been promoted with? With these questions in mind, I thought that I would look at who we have and whether Fulham should be looking to make the deals permanent or whether we should be happy to see them leave. We also have to bear in mind that while we might want to make a deal permanent, the parent club may have other ideas.
Matt Targett- the Southampton youngster was an important figure, along with Mitrovic, in our real upturn in fortune since January. He is a perfect fit for Jokanovic’s Fulham with his speed up and down the left and a real ability to read the game. In his 21 games since joining the club, Targett scored one, assisted two and picked up four MOTM awards- not a bad record at all. His crossing has been suspect at times, but he loves to try and put the ball in the box and the more he does that, the more chances will be made. I would love to keep Targett but I get the impression that he will have his eyes on challenging Ryan Bertrand at Southampton.
Assessment- KEEP, but unrealistic.
Tomas Kalas- The return of the Chelsea loanee this year was greeted with much enthusiasm last summer as he had been a fantastic addition to our defence during the 2016/17 season. However, Kalas didn’t quite manage to rise to that level of performance this time around. I’d argue that he is a better defender than Odoi, but isn’t quite as good with the ball at his feet which is why the Belgium has been preferred. Fulham wanted to make the move permanent last summer but Chelsea priced us out of a deal and that could happen again this time around. Is he a Premier League defender? Potentially.
Assessment- KEEP, but only if Chelsea don’t price us out of a deal. If they want more than 4milllion for him then we would be better putting the funds into someone else.
Ollie Norwood- maybe I’m biased being from Northern Ireland, but I think Norwood deserves a chance in the Premier League. Saturday’s victory meant that he celebrated his second promotion in as many years after helping Brighton to second place last season. He is a very handy player to have in and around the squad and has a real footballing brain. I’d like to see him stay as he adds a more defensive aspect to the midfield than Johansen while also being able to dictate the attack.
Assessment- KEEP, we will need a number of smart midfielders in the Premier League.
Sheyi Ojo- the Liverpool loanee has shown glimpses of the talent that has made him so highly rated in the North West, but we unfortunately just haven’t seen enough of it. He showed real steely determination to come back from a shoulder injury sustained at QPR at Loftus Road during the first half of the season, and went on a run of strong performances, but the impression that I got from him was that he is injury prone and inconsistent. Just not what we need I’m afraid.
Assessment- Thanks, but no thanks.
Lucas Paizon- the Brazilian loves Fulham and would seemingly run through a brick wall for us, but is that enough? Alongside Kalas, Paizon has completed his second year in a row on loan at Fulham but hasn’t been as good as last season. He wasn’t helped by an awful injury sustained against Leeds United in August. However, I still love his attitude and his constant willing running so I’d be happy to see him stay.
Assessment- KEEP, but again we are relying on Chelsea not pricing us out of a deal.
Aleksandar Mitrovic- The sight of Jokanovic with his arm around Mitrovic after the final whistle on Saturday was marvellous. The striker looks really emotional at the end of the game and I think that was partly down to just how well this season has turned out for him. It was like Slav had freed him from Newcastle and that he had finally found a manager who had faith in him. It’s a match made in Heaven for me, and he should be at the top of our priority list between now and the World Cup.
Assessment- KEEP, without a shadow of a doubt.