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.