January is probably the strangest time in the season for football fans. The transfer rumour mill churns out names apparently linked to clubs like there is no tomorrow, feeding on the insecurities that fans have about the squads of the teams they support. It can be a chance for clubs to cover holes left by injuries or to find that something special to help you reach your goals. For Fulham, we have had some absolute stinkers in the January transfer window, with Kostas Mitroglou in January 2014 jumping to mind immediately. I genuinely thought that he was going to waltz his way onto the Craven Cottage pitch and save us from our relegation woes. We broke our transfer record at the time for him but instead of our relegation saviour, the Greece international made three appearances for us and scored no goals. Disaster.
On the other hand, the signings of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Matt Targett in January 2018 turned us into a side feared in the Championship. If we hadn’t have brought them in when we did, there is absolutely no way that we would have went up that year.
While I believe that we have a squad filled with wonderful players, I think that we need a couple of Mitrovic and Targett-esque signings before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Defensively we are so poor. We’ve conceded 30 goals so far this season. That’s nine more than Leeds at the top of the table. Michael Hector obviously feels like a January signing despite the fact that he has been training with the club since the start of the season. He was solid enough during his debut against Aston Villa on Saturday, but he did make an error for their goal. It would be great if we could ease him in, but really we need him to play out of his skin for the reminder of the season! There is a lot of pressure on him, hopefully he is up to it.
It’s interesting that we have turned Ivan Cavaleiro’s loan deal into a permanent one this week. I’ve really enjoyed watching him in a Fulham shirt so far this season and he has chipped in with a few goals and assists. If the rumours of a £15million fee are true, then it’s a lot of money, but it does open up a loan spot in the squad so I could see us bringing in another loan.
If we go through the whole of January and all we do is get Hector fully registered and make Cav’s move permanent, then I don’t think fans will be satisfied. While going forward this team could be lethal, defensively we just aren’t strong enough for promotion. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that we are likely to leave things to the last minute as usual. Hopefully we just don’t leave it too late.