While this summer has moved slower than many Fulham supporters would like, the business done off the pitch has been with only one target in mind: promotion. Tony Khan began his summer business while the season was yet to finish as the future of Tom Cairney was settled with a five-year deal despite relegation confirmed and two games to go until the season was over. Out of the gates before the window had even opened, Khan secured his next bit of business a month later and it was more in-house dealings as striker Aleksandar Mitrovic also committed himself to Fulham Football Club undeterred by relegation and with that, the Championship was aware that they would be facing one of the divisions best playmakers of recent years and a forward who scored 12 goals in 18 starts in his last period at that level.
Tony Khan’s feeling for the next season was clear before a first signing was seemingly close according to reporting. However, six days later after a week of bubbling Fulham announced the signing of electric Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Ivan Cavaleiro who saw his game time at the club drop in the Premier League due to change of shape. A year prior as Fulham were contending in the play-offs, Cavaleiro’s 21 goals and assists (while playing around 900 fewer minutes) was only bettered for goal contribution by Diogo Jota (22) on the other flank for Wolves. A menacing direct winger with a recent Championship title, excellent form in his previous stint in the division and at 25 still has room to grow; Tony Khan in attracting Jorge Mendes client Ivan Cavaleiro to the football club made the perfect statement of intent with this transfer window and Fulham not only got better for the coming season but should promotion come, they will be better in the Premier League.
Fulham’s attack was already looking menacing but eight days later it turned absolutely ruthless. Anthony Knockaert signed, like Ivan Cavaleiro, on a loan with an option to buy next summer and like that, Fulham’s front four now contained a Championship Player of the Year from just two seasons ago. The French winger pipped Chris Wood (then of Leeds) and Dwight Gayle to the award with 15 goals and 8 assists as part of a Brighton team that didn’t leave the top 2 from the end of October and were just a point behind Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United. An underlying tone is also that Anthony Knockaert helped Brighton maintain their Premier League status and is leaving the coastal club as their most goal productive wide player from last season.
Four bits of business, two headline retentions and two incomings set the tone for Scott Parker’s Fulham this season. Whilst pre-season has shown evidence of a more direct wing play heavy attack inserted into a possession focused football team, Tony Khan has made this football team stronger, deeper and containing two more players you can take into the Premier League and produce. He’s had his critics (and admittedly, I’ve been one of them) but he’s showing signs of learning, growth and depth beyond spending multimillions. While there is business still left to do, namely within the back four and the centre of midfield, Fulham has roared into not only being promotion favourites but favourites for the Championship title. Scott Parker has been supported to an extent where he has everything to lose in his first full season as first team manager – this team is set up for promotion and whilst a title or promotion will look good on Parker’s record, the offseason business has made it so anything less will be a complete and utter failure.
All this looks and sounds encouraging. However the good news is masked by the likely loss of Ryan Sessegnon for what may turn out to be a poor bit of business with Tottenham and, arguably worse still, our 16 year old prodigy midfielder to Liverpool. However what is truly saddening is how the club is more than happy to announce the good news of arrivals but not keep supporters in the picture regarding the rumours/ likely departures of seriously good players that have played such an important role in the development of our outstanding Academy. Please keep us posted on the bad as well as good news and the why and where fires. That would be a more honest form of public relations
I personally think that we’ve done some very astute business and going forward we’re going to be frightening. Scott Parker certainly has a team capable of being right up there. In fact this team I think would’ve faired better in the Premier League than the team we actually had. I’m still at a loss to explain how we got it so wrong last season but I’m feeling very positive about the coming campaign in the Championship.
Ryan will not be missed his head is already away from the Cottage so the sooner he is sold the better
Is it just me but I am more excited about the start of this season than I have been for a long time what with our new stand and the positive attitude of the Khan family after following Fulham Fc through some pretty lean times over the last 65 years I have never been more happy.
Positive vibes 3-1 against barnsley. Then it heats up
Keeping TC & Mitro at the club is the best news ever and we have made a couple of good signings, but the loss of Sess will I think hit us hard. He knows the club the players and most of all he is an emerging talent in English football. If we are serious about getting back to the Premier League we need to keep hold of our talented academy players, forget the money we make, we will make more being in the top League and staying there. I for one don’t think next season will be as easy getting back up, the Championship is a very hard League to get out of. COYW in Scott we must believe!!
50 year long supporter of Fulham and from here in Australia things looking good
What’s has happened to Tim Ream
You have got to praise Mr Shahid Khan and son Tony for their Loyalty . Their transfer business so far has been very good Come On U Whites
Defence is still my worry and has been for 5 years
I have seen reports that Aston Villa are interested in Marc Bettinelli. Please tell Fulham fans this will not happen.
Whilst reasonably happy with current signings still have a concern about the defence. This was our big weakness in the premier league and to be honest did not see much improvement in this department when Scott Parker took over. Maybe a signing or two would boost confidence as we seem to be conceding goals in the frienies played so far. Looking forward to the season and wish the team best of luck.
A successful team has strength in all departments. Fulham had a porous midfield and a woeful defence.Parker won only three of his ten matches and lost the preseason match against league 1 Cambridge United 3: 1. I expect Fulham will lose against West Ham today. I will be delighted if I am wrong ! If Fulham are not in the top half of the Championship by Xmas Parker must go.
He does not appear to have addressed the defence problem. Odoi must go for starters