Fulham confirmed their released and retained lists on Friday night – with plenty of question marks over several of the decisions and the club’s plans for a return to the Championship in the 201/22 campaign.
Only Kevin McDonald features on the released list from the senior squad and his departure is understandable following his kidney transplant. There are several exits from the youth team set-up. Fulham have decided to release Julian Schwarzer, son of former Fulham goalkeeper Mark, whose second spell with the club has come to an end after he was brought back to Motspur Park as keeping cover. Jordan Aina, brother of Ola, has been let go after just a season with the club, whilst Martell Taylor-Crossdale, brought in from Chelsea in 2019, has formerly left the club having struggled to make an impression with the under 23s. The striker’s departure is not a surprise after he was sent back from Colchester on loan and Taylor-Crossdale spent time on trial with QPR earlier in the season.
Ryan De Havilland, a midfielder who occasionally featured at under 23 level, has also left the club after four years, whilst Luca Murphy – whose acrimonious move from Hartlepool two years ago hit the headlines – was also released. Two full backs, Lesley Duru and Jaydn Mundle-Smith are also searching for new employers and Jayden Harris also moves on after more than decade with the club.
Fulham formally confirmed that all seven loanees players have headed back to their parent clubs as expected. Lemina, Aina, Andersen and Areola made their mark whilst at the club, as regular first-team players who put in some outstanding performances, they were not enough to rescue the Whites from the drop. Lookman showed early promise, but it felt as though he wilted as the season went on. Maja returns to cash-strapped Bordeaux after an uneventful loan spell, although his debut brace at Everton did hint at real promise and that penalty at Arsenal briefly sparked hope of another great escape. Ruben Loftus-Cheek goes back to the Stamford Bridge bench, where he will still move more than he did at Craven Cottage pitch as he models for BooHooMan.
Seven players have been seen their one-year extension options activated. Tyrese Francois, the talented Australian midfielder who made his first-team debut against Southampton in 2019 and came off the bench on the final day of the season against Newcastle, is among these. Cyrus Christie will be at the Cottage for another year after spending this season on loan with Nottingham Forest and Maxime Le Marchand, who made sixteen appearances and scored three goals at Royal Antwerp in the second half of the season, is also contracted for another year.
Jerome Opoku has been rewarded for another encouraging loan spell – this time with League One Plymouth – with an extension, which may allow him to make an impression on the first team set up. Given the surfeit of centre backs now at Parker’s disposal another loan might be more likely, with a Championship destination a possibility this time. Terry Ablade has been earned an extension of his own after lively displays for the under-23 side and has been joined by the Ghanaian-American central defender Eric Ameyaw and defensive midfielder, Jonathan Page.
There was also confirmation of Tim Ream’s new deal, which the American spoke about in the run-up to his current international duty. Fulham have also agreed new terms with Marlon Fossey, the attacking right back, who has been so unlucky with serious knee injuries over the past two seasons. Luca Ashby-Hammond, the highly-rated England youth international goalkeeper, has put pen to paper on a new contract after another strong season with the under 23s, whilst older brother Taye has been offered a new deal.
Several of the club’s academy starlets have been offered new contracts. These include exciting English forward Mika Biereth, who scored 21 goals in 22 games as the under 18s retained their Premier League south title. Jean-Pierre Tiéhi, who registered ten goals in 23 games at under-23 level, is also considering a new contract. Scottish centre back pairing Connor McAvoy and Ibane Bowat, pivotal to the under 18s success this year, have been offered new deals whilst Luciano D’Auria-Henry, who stepped up to the under 23s at right back, and Idris Odutayo are also in the process of securing their futures at Motspur Park.
Finally, Fulham revealed they remain in dialogue with long-serving goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, whose contract expires at the end of the month. You would imagine that Marek Rodak remains ahead of Bettinelli, whose loan spell with Middlesbrough ended in disappointment as he was dropped by Neil Warnock towards the end of the season, but he will always retain a place in the hearts of the Fulham faithful, especially following his exploits after coming back in the team that Slavisa Jokanovic guided to promotion.
Surely the only reason that they have extended Christie and Le Marchand deals is in the forlorn hope (long shot) that they can recoup some kind of fee when they try to offload them along with the rest of the dross that makes up a large part of our squad.
We need serious surgery in order to eradicate these hangers on who are just not good enough and bleed the club dry with their bloated wages.
For pity’s sake, better to give frees to players like Seri, Knockaert, Le Marchand, Kamara, Christie etc. Get them off the books once and for all as they will hardly contribute next season. There’s a few more but just these 5 would ease the wage bill to the tune of 150k per week. Having players like Seri around when he is neither good enough nor interested in playing for the club is just toxic.
Drastic decisions need to be made in order to get the club in good shape once and for all.
Totally agree with the above comments also suggest that Roy Hodgson be brought in as director of football and get rid of Tony Khan as Head of recruitment whereby the coach and director have sole responsibility for recruitment
Certainly agree with Alan regarding Tony Khan. Boy is he responsible for bringing in some rubbish players. How Jocanovic and Parker could succeed with this guy in situ is beyond me. Compare him paying some 23 million for Seri with the 5 million Brentford paid for Toney. No wonder the Bees are in the Premiership and we got relegated. Khan in my view is a walking disaster area for Fulham.
if you watch the 23s and 18s live from time to time like i did before lock down .I was surprised they signed duru and the young aina, especially as their was a group of lads who done for 18s and would be moving up to 23s this coming year so the 1 year deal seems strange when they never set the world alight with their ability.The other player eric was playing for dunstable is a centre half but picked up a serious injury the club havent mentioned what it was,hense the extra year,the ex chelsea forward released showed less effort than cheek.FOSSEY new contract worrys me abit,he had a very serious knee operation never played for 2 years because he had 3 ops during that time, he then went on loan to accrington and then come home for the rest of season due to a injury he now been given another contract will be 23 soon, the other player with 1 year still remaining is abraham younger brother of chelsea player timmy.Hes been on loan to plymouth they sent him back,he then went on loan to raith hardly played,so recruitment isnt just the 1st team squad that is sub standard its common practice through the ranks.