The only conclusion you can draw is it has to be the heat. It has been unusually warm in London over the past ten days or so – and the temperature appearances to have got to the tabloid boys. John Cross, usually one of the more well-sourced and reliable members of the press pack, produced an exclusive earlier this week suggesting that Newcastle United were keen on signing Tosin Adarabioyo. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself – Tosin looked good in the Premier League and was a consistent performer as the Whites cruised to the Championship title – but the salient details in the Daily Mirror piece were all wrong.
Cross claimed that Adarabioyo, who still has ambitions of playing senior international football for England, only had twelve months on his contract. That might be strictly correct but Fulham can trigger a twelve month extension on his deal – and the player himself is both content at Craven Cottage and eager to the right the wrongs of his first taste in the top flight. The upshot is that it would take a hell a lot of Saudi blood money to acquire the ball-playing centre back for Eddie Howe and Fulham won’t be countenancing any sort of deal at present.
Not to be undone the Sun claimed that Gareth Southgate was the favourite to succeed Marco Silva in SW6. It was a bizarre story built off the back of England’s Nations League hammering by Hungary – and supposed to coincide with the first sustained spell of discontent Southgate has endured since he became national coach – but any impetus evaporated once the FA put their strong backing for the manager on the record. The idea that Fulham might ditch Marco Silva was always barmy, but this read like a puff piece for the bookies’ the paper was partnered with on a slow news day.
Chris wrote the other day that nobody is truly in the know in a modern transfer window. He’s right, of course, because rumours race halfway across the world before the sun has even got his hat on these days. That’s largely because of the ubiquity of the internet and social media, where anyone with an account can hashtag any sort of statement and suddenly we’re off to the races. The keyboard warriors and bedwetters are running particularly wild given Fulham’s failure to make a single signing – one Twitter account has even started posting a goal for every day that the Whites aren’t active in the market. It’s good that user has more than home league goals scored under Scott Parker in 2020/21 to select from – otherwise they would have already exhausted all their content.
There are, of course, a few compelling reasons why Fulham haven’t announced any new arrivals yet. First, they have apparently targeted a number of players who will be free agents on June 30th. They remain in talks with some – and the announcement of any deal ahead of time is dependent not only on the player agreeing terms, but both clubs being amenable to publicising the deal. For signings from foreign countries, there is a July 1st opening of the international transfer window – and those announcements are especially complex to handle. Even the early notice of Fabio Carvalho’s impending departure was dependent on a pre-contract agreement and improved relations between Fulham and Liverpool.
Modern football fans by their nature are impatient. Tony Khan’s suitability to be the club’s director of football remains a lightning rod that ignites plenty of the fanbase, whilst there is an understandable desire to see that the powers that be have learnt the lessons of the last three disastrous top flight campaigns. But the picture is complicated further by Fulham’s ambition: the club are targeting a number of leading European players, who may ultimately decide to sign for more established top division teams across the continent. The pitfalls of aiming high are that you may get turned down.
Silva seems to be playing a more prominent role in recruitment than either of his predecessors but the lack of early summer signings may allow a few of the promising talents from Steve Wigley’s under-23 set up to make the most of a chance to impress in pre-season. While the academy reorganisation has paid immediate dividends on the pitch, there has also been an increased willingness to loan out some of the club’s brightest young talent. This week alone both Sonny Hilton, fresh from lifting the Johnny Haynes Trophy, and Taye Ashby-Hammond have secured EFL loans that can only assist their development – whilst the absence of a new number ten to replace Carvalho could offer opportunities to both Jay Stansfield and Luke Harris in the first couple of weeks of July.
Time will tell whether this article was far too optimistic in assessing Fulham’s start to the summer but there are far more pressing things in the world at present to be angry about. My recommendation to the Craven Cottage regulars patiently waiting for another notification would be to reflect on the sublime football that Silva’s side produced last season in the knowledge that everyone at Motspur Park is working hard to deliver the acquisitions that the Portuguese head coach requires to make the Whites competitive in the league above.