The incredible season has not long finished but football is a fast moving business and straight away the minds of many has turned to who will be coming through the door at Craven Cottage. We are in early June and the transfer window hasn’t even officially opened yet but with the news of other clubs announcing deals and strengthening their sides has many Fulham fans wondering why the Whites are yet to make any additions to the squad; since the club decided to leave themselves short by releasing a host of squad players.
There are many rumours flying around, some from some pretty credible sources and some not so much but as we head towards the window opening it seems like Fulham have already been linked with hundreds of players! Most people believe that the clubs early promotion would bring a host of early transfers ready to hit the ground running in pre season but that hasn’t happened and now Forest have won the playoff some believe that Fulham have missed their chance to steal a march on the teams that should be their direct opposition to avoid the drop next season.
Some fans may be panicking and thinking that this will be another last minute scattergun approach but there are a few things that suggest this time will be different and that us as fans should trust in Marco Silva especially to get it right in the window. Firstly some of the credible links have us linked with players over the age of 28 and some with considerable Premier League experience, this is different to the previous money ball stats driven system in which the club wouldn’t sign anyone over 28 and often they were obscure targets from Europe.
Then there is the targets we are looking at like William Carvalho, Luka Milivojevic and Arthur Masuaku, all of which are players Marco Silva has worked with previously. Carvalho at Sporting Lisbon and the latter duo during a spell in Greece with Olympiakos. Silva has also used his extensive knowledge of his homeland to sound out Al Musrati who is a defensive midfielder with very good ball winning attributes and passing stats in the Portuguese top division for the last couple of seasons and the Libyan is said to be close to completing a move to Craven Cottage this summer.
The positions in which the links are focused in on would suggest that this is not the work of the previous scouting or recruitment system, Silva identified the positions he wants to strengthen early on after promotion as the Athletic reported and the vast majority of the links we are seeing are for players in roles that Fulham are desperate to strengthen early this summer.
For teams like Fulham, the transfer window is very tough especially this being our 3rd promotion in a row and the uncertainty that surrounds joining a club with the so called yo-yo tag, Players will want assurances in case of relegation and clauses in place to cover themselves while agents will hold out for a better deal for both themselves and their player. The player will more than likely wait as long as possible before committing to a newly promoted club whilst holding hope that a more established top flight side will come in. The selling club are also aware of other interest and also the fact that you are newly promoted side with money to spend (and money that needs to be spent to survive) so they drive up the price, adding to this Fulham’s slightly stretched FFP situation and you start having a difficult situation managing short term and long term aspects.
Another reason things slow down early in the summer is players going on holiday, they have had a long season and all want to unwind so they jet off somewhere exotic with or without their families for two weeks in the sun and most will only deal with transfer situation when they return. Also remember that this summer everything will be slowed down even further by the current round of international games set to end on the 14th of June, while players are on international duty they will rarely be sorting out their future. Some will withdraw from their respective squads to sort a transfer out which is what two Fulham targets Thomas Strakosha and Al Musrati have apparently done.
In the case with the international break we may not see much movement until after this period later in the month but even then, don’t expect things to move at a pace in the Premier League until July. Most football fans are desperate to see new signings in at their clubs as early as possible and Fulham fans are no different but in this case I don’t think it’s time to panic just yet, there are 13 other Premier League sides yet to make a signing and that includes the other two promoted sides. Also add context to some of the Premier League signings (of which there’s been 13 in total), 3 were loans converted in permanent moves, three were done (or largely done) before the season had ended and 3 were free transfers.
Fulham are heavily linked with a few players and if reports are to be believed, we are very close to bringing a couple of new players in. I believe that was one of Marco Silva’s demands when taking the Fulham job, that he was to be heavily involved in transfers and the signs show he is getting his way as he did last summer when he got Rodrigo Muniz in from Flamengo.
Silva will have his targets and the club will be working very hard I’m sure to get them in and ready to hit the ground running.