Given the global pandemic, the window that slammed shut on Monday has been one of the strangest yet. Given the financial constraints that clubs around the country are facing because of a lack of fans it’s no surprise that the overall spending of clubs in the Premier League was down from last year. However the pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped some clubs from spending huge amounts of money to improve their squads. Chelsea were the big spenders with £222m spent, with Leeds United, Aston Villa and Everton all among the clubs splashing the cash for players.
For Fulham, we were promised that the club wouldn’t be making the same mistakes as last time in the Premier League. Promised that we wouldn’t essentially throw aside the players who got us up for a bunch of over-priced mercenaries. To be fair to Khan and co, we certainly didn’t overspend, but rather than make the same mistakes we just made a whole load of new ones. It may have come good in the end with the two centre backs that we craved so much coming through the Motspur Park doors on Deadline Day, but Tony Khan certainly hasn’t gotten it all right this time around. I doubt any Fulham fan out there was confident in our defence going into the new season. Denis Odoi and Tim Ream are both excellent servants to the club, but they weren’t up to Premier League standard two seasons ago so upgrades were needed – and badly. And unfortunately Hector doesn’t seem up to it either, but I’m still hoping that he will come good. He maybe just needs someone confident around him. The truth of the matter is that these deals should have been done a lot earlier than they were. Our season has started in disastrous form and this is because our squad was not ready for the opener against Arsenal. While I don’t doubt that the team behind the scenes were working to bring people in, there just seems to have been too many mistakes there that have resulted in deals being completed too late.
Tony Khan has also had to go against some of his earlier summer quotes in bringing in a lot of players on loan without any sort of ‘option to buy’ clause. He made a big thing at the start of the window of saying that he isn’t in the business of developing other teams players when they don’t have the space for them regarding Ryan Sessegnon yet he has brought in a number of players including Ruben Loftus Cheek, Ademola Lookman and Joachim Andersen all on loan but with no options to buy. That said, those three players undoubtably bring a heck load of quality to the squad and I’m buzzing to have them at the club. It’s just a shame that we are doing exactly what Tony said he didn’t want to do in developing other players that teams don’t have time for currently.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The business that we have finally gotten over the line seems to be very positive. We have recruited in the areas that we desperately needed too alongside giving the squad much more depth and quality in other areas. Speaking to a Manchester City fan today it’s clear that many of them are fuming that City have let Tosin Adaraboiyo go on a permanent with no buy-back clause and for such a small sum of money. That could prove to be a fantastic piece of business in years to come. We have also brought in the heavily sought after Antonee Robinson, Kenny Tete and the already mentioned Andersen in defence while Alphonso Areola and Marek Rodak will have a competitive battle over the number one jersey between the sticks.
Our midfield was probably the place that needed the least work but it has also been upgraded considerably. Frank Zambo-Anguissa has developed greatly after his time at Villarreal and adds some real quality to that box-to-box position so it looks to be a wise decision to keep him on. Harrison Reed was brilliant for us at the end of last season so the £8million spent on him for me was worth it. Mario Lemina and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both come with real Premier League quality and as for Jean Michael Seri, we’ll have to wait and see what he really contributes to the side. He clearly has quality but there have always been question marks over whether he really wants to be in West London.
Another worrying aspect of our squad was our wingers. Unfortunately Cavaleiro and Knockaert don’t look like they will have much of an impact this year. They, alongside Aboubakar Kamara and Neeskens Kebano, aren’t really much more than squad players. They so far haven’t been able to provide much support for Mitrovic up front which has been a worry. But while those players can provide decent enough options off the bench we really needed someone who would come in and take a game by the scruff of the neck. Someone with proven quality but who has a real thirst top prove himself in England. Enter Ademola Lookman. How good has he looked in both cameos so far? He changed the game against Wolves on Sunday and provided a chance that Kamara should have finished off. Lookman looks like someone who could really flourish at Fulham and I’d have him starting every week if he is fit enough.
So all in all I’d say that our transfer window has been positive in terms of who has come through the door, but just poorly executed in terms of timings. I’ll give Tony credit for the players who have been brought in, but none whatsoever when it comes to having this squad ready for the start of the season. The worry is that the positive signings that have been brought in, players who could really make a difference, have come too late. We are four games into the season and have no points. Tony will practically be praying that he didn’t move too late. Let’s hope that he didn’t.
Tony Khan is getting a suspiciously easy ride in the main forums ( TIFF, FOF, etc) ! A regular Khan critic , ‘Mickey’ is facing a clearly orchestrated attack from the usual Khan apologists on TIFF as I post! Question: Are the moderators of these sites club employees?!?
We have done well in market . Yes would of been nice to get deals done early. If it was that easy all clubs would. But with agents holding up for best deals for there players, and mostly themselves it’s very hard. Sky sports makes A day programme out of deadline day, so most teams have till wait for last day deals.Till clubs get together refuse to pay agent fees , players are on enough now to pay there agents
I sense most Fulham fans have made up their minds about our recruitment by now. For me, not signing centre backs between winning the play-off final and the start of the season was a serious dereliction of duty. I can only assume that Khan junior made that decision. We have effectively thrown away the first four games of the season – 10% of the campaign – by not bringing in players in our weakest position. We must now hope that the new signings are able to make a difference, but relegation is much more likely because of this inaction. You can’t blame Scott Parker for our start to the season in my view.
This almost felt like going to a party that you were not looking forward to and it turning out much better than you thought. On paper we got our two central defenders and whilst Loftus- Cheek is a quality player the one player I really want too see playing for Fulham is Lookman. He already has changed that attitude within Fulham of looking to play the ball sideways.
His movement against Wolves when he broke from the left and fed the ball 40 yards was so encouraging – such a shame that the goal went begging.
Truth is, apart from a back up or different option up front to Mitro, we’ve ended up in a decent position. I think we’ve just about got the balance right between adding quality and keeping the core of the squad together. I suspect or hope that some will also stay if we do go back down. The big criticism is clearly that these gaps were obvious and should have been filled on Day 1. Clearly we dont know exactly how things work and maybe we were working hard from the point of promotion. I dont think so though. Feels like it took the reality of the first 4 games to wake TK up. We can probably right off another couple while players get bedded in so in effect we have lost a big slodge of winnable games. We’ve now got a chance…but…should have been done much earlier. If we end up going down by a point or 2 then TK will have to take his share of the blame. Time now to get behind the boys. COYW
I think we now have all the pieces for the FFC jigsaw puzzle, can Scotty now put it together while Khan still has the picture to work from?
Notwithstanding what has been said above I find it hard to believe that we have not been able to bring in a central defender with any real premiership experience. Arguably the most important position in any team. And we clearly needed two!
Certainly Lookman looks very promising but I only hope that Loftus-cheek can quickly prove his fitness and not turn out to be a sick note. Time, and we don’t have much, will tell.
My biggest issue with Tony is the way he publicly apologized and broadcasted the early failures at bringing in central defenders. Airing the club’s dirty laundry on twitter is embarrassing to everyone and only fueled more criticism, making himself and the club look like amateurs. I think the club clearly knew the defense was an issue from day 1 and tried to make moves, they just didn’t work out. Criticize him if you want about not closing those deals, but believing that TK didn’t know we had a CB problem until last week is pretty naive, regardless of how you feel about his transfer policies.
Khan learnt from the mistakes he made in 2018. Let’s hope he learns from the new mistakes he made this summer.
But why do we have an apprentice in the role as Director if Football rather than a master?
This is the Premier League, Mr Khan, not some piddly widdly staged sports entertainment event you may be more familiar with.
I think the recruitment had the issue of players not wanting to sign for FFC because we are already going down so top quality players would want to play for us. I think it was always going to go down to the wire and we were going to get players who could go anywhere else. The most important thing is to get players who want to play for FFC and have a point to prove – I think we have got that, especially with all deadline day signings.
I think everyone too tough on TK, it must be very difficult getting players to come to FFC when greedy agents are hawking players around to every club, we have to face it we are are not a top club and will always get players of a certain caliber and situation…. eveyone needs to get behind the lads…COYW’s!!!
In the end, we have done alright on paper. It took far too long, but we obviously made some missteps (buying Knockaert for £10m, loaning Lemina), but assuming the two new centre backs prove to be improvements over what we had, we can already see that Tete and Lookman are upgrades, and Loftus-Cheek obviously will be when fit. Keeping Frank Anguissa is good too. What remains is to loan out a couple of players who are clearly now never getting near the team, and get a decent striker from the Championship. If we get to the end of the domestic window having signed no back-up for Mitro, then we’ve screwed up.
Two new centre halfs.but no support for Mich,let get Welbeck trai ning with us and have a look as back up for Mich.
Good post Gary COYW
Even at this stage I still don’t detect a plan, for this season or into the future.
We have an abundance of midfield players and with that strength we should look to play 4 across the midfield (with Tete and Bryant playing wing backs).
We have fortuitously found what look like 2 good C.B. with ok backup for minor injuries so hopefully that will mean 3 at the back with Robinson on the left.
With RLC as no.10 and Mitro and Lookman up front that format may stem the goals against and be interesting going forward.
We do however need reserves AK47 is hopeless at this level, only Kebano looks useful and only for his free kicks. Injuries and suspensions (Mitro) will happen, what’s plan B?
In the end I’m still thinking there are three teams below us. WBA and Sheffield Utd and ……..help me out here(Burnley?!?!)
Unfortunately, this debate had already has been tainted by way too much lazy criticism, negativity, and some associated unpleasant behaviour
The wider context is that, as play off winners of a delayed season, we’ve had the probably the shortest off season to work with
Plus we are in the middle of a global pandemic
Then take into account that it is very difficult to attract Premier League quality players to a club not in the Prem
Finally, a club like us needs to identify talented players who want to be at the club – and that is not always easy
I think Tony & his team have done a good job, we are much strengthened, and Scott has some difficult decisions to make
Despite all last minute, not a bad outcome . Now have a better squad than in 2018 and despite awful start survival looks just feasible . From financial aspect this was top and money in bank to get a decent forward to back Mitro in January window . Fans need to get behind team and manager . Khan Sr needs to get new Director of Football if this club is to build properly .
Not a bad Transfer window but not a good one either two CBs would like to have seen a third with premiership experience as cover for injuries etc would have liked to have seen another striker as well there is still time yet someone from the championship maybe Anguissa with RLC and maybe Onomah in Midfield ( Where is Sideways Cairney going to play ) he has never been competive for me let’s hope we get a bit of luck and decisions go our way for a change and maybe we will finish OK
I would like to see us buy some time from Danny Murphy as a defence consultant
So many people seem to imagine that the deals that eventually got done were on offer at the beginning of the season and that Tony Khan willfully didn’t act on that. Obviously none of us know but without that knowledge it is frankly very sad that these people are first to attack our own club owners. Yes, mistakes are made. But thank goodness we seem to have owners that are prepared to go on investing in the infrastructure of the club. That shows commitment for the future of FFC. Let’s hope that in future no ‘mistakes’ (if that’s what they were) are made. But as was finally said in Some Like It Hot – ‘No one’s perfect’
In a perfect world we get promoted on the Tuesday and all of our top targets sign on the Friday.
I’m not an apologist for TK, he shouldn’t have taken the head of football role (although with his sports stats I understand why he did). But take a look at 2007/8 great escape squad which is maybe a comparable season for us right now. It looks a shambles. And name the directors of football who are getting it right, consistently? Who do we want instead?
TK really does need to work on his PR though.
Four games in I think we’ve got a really interesting squad under the circumstances. We may get relegated but it was a team that wasn’t good enough that got promoted, so I’m hopeful Parker can get this again.
I believe in Scott’s work, there are people in the comments saying that we are demoted … I’m sure not! there are clubs in PL that are more likely to go to the Championship than Fulham … West Ham, Southampton, West brom, Burnley, Bringhton …