Despite Fulham being linked to multiple players over the course of this January transfer window, with the club reportedly interested in names such as Amadou Diawara, Tom Lawrence and the ever-present Dwight Gayle rumour, there have been no incomings at Motspur Park with just hours until the deadline.
Instead, the focus appears to be on keeping young stars at the club, with Jay Stansfield recently signing a new contract and the club steadfastly negotiating with Liverpool and Fabio Carvalho as they persist with their intentions of keeping the starlet, as well as shifting the ‘dead wood’ of unregistered players. For many, this begs the question of why the recruitment is having an uncharacteristically quiet start to the new year.
To oversimplify the potential reasonings, there are two overlapping schools of thought. Firstly, is the opinion squad doesn’t currently need any new additions. With Fulham five points clear of second-placed Blackburn Rovers, with a game in hand, and, other than a poor showing against Blackpool, experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime purple patch of form; having scored 74 goals already, as they enviously eye up the 2001/02 Fulham Women’s team’s eyewatering 234 goal tally, it appears as though Marco Silva and the board believe that the team shouldn’t require much change to see out the season.
The team’s quality is evident, having been the better performers in the vast majority of games so far this season, no matter the final scoreline. The quality and depth of the squad was epitomised in the recent fixture at the Bet365 stadium against possibly the toughest opposition that Silva’s side have faced so far, with the Whites missing multiple key players, such as Aleksander Mitrovic, Harry Wilson and Jean-Michael Seri, due to COVID-19 or international duty. Despite this, Fulham were still able to collect all three points in a nervy 3-2 win with samba star Rodrigo Muniz and reggae boy Bobby Decordovia-Reid proving that they could do it on a cold afternoon in Stoke.
This can be attributed to the past recruitment of leading Championship talent in almost all departments as the Whites once again push for the Premier League, as well as to Silva’s fantastic playing style which draws the best out of each and everyone one of his squad members. Therefore, any additional spending could be deemed irresponsible and unnecessary given the previous patchy recruitment which has left the club with a mountain of ‘dead wood’ to shift. However, many amongst the fanbase believe that reinforcements are needed in the backline, with the club lacking depth at right-back, having a duo of inconsistent left-backs and few everpresent centre-back options.
This brings us onto the second, and more laborious point: the club’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) deficit. Thus far, we have seen the club loan Cyrus Christie to Swansea, offer Watford the opportunity to recall Domingos Quina, attempt to gift Birmingham City Alfie Mawson, seek to shift Terence Kogolo to Groningen, offload Anthony Knockaert to Como and try to squeeze every possible penny from Crystal Palace or Napoli for Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa. This is to name just a few of the outgoing deals which have been either confirmed or rumoured, most of whom are previously extortionately expensive signings that have not reached their required standards as Fulham hunt for Premier League stability but continue to apply considerable pressure on the club’s finances – especially with the economic impact of COVID-19.
I have previously waxed lyrical about Fulham’s Financial Fair Play position, and there has been little positive change within the latest accounts – just understand that it is extremely tight! If you are interested in learning more about Fulham’s financial position, I have previously written about Fulham’s FFP position, I have previously written about Fulham’s FFP position in 2020/21’s January window as well as how relegation could have damaged the finances. Furthermore, Cottage Analytica’s analysis of the latest financial report is extremely well detailed and informative.