Fulham are now ‘firm favourites’ to sign Brighton forward Neal Maupay, according to the Athletic’s David Ornstein, with the clubs in advanced discussions about concluding a deal.
The Whites are looking to supplement their striking options in order to allow Rodrigo Muniz, who began his Middlesbrough medical yesterday, to leave Craven Cottage on loan. Ornstein reports that ‘negotiations [between Fulham and Brighton] and moving towards an agreement and the London club have leapfrogged Nottingham Forest and Everton in the race for the former Brentford striker’s signature.
Maupay, who is out of contract at the AMEX Stadium next summer, has scored 27 goals in 109 appearances for Albion but has yet to feature for Graham Potter’s senior side this season. Brighton rebuffed an offer from Italian outfit Salernitana last month, but now appear keener to sell the 26 year-old after extending Danny Welbeck’s contract on the south coast earlier today.
The former France under-21 international began his senior career at Nice before joining Saint-Ettiene, from where Brentford bought him for £1.6m in July 2017. Maupay scored 41 goals in 95 appearances for the Bees, including 25 in the 2018/2019 Championship season, before moving to Brighton for a reported £20m in 2019. He famously scored an injury-time equaliser at Craven Cottage in 2018 that denied Fulham victory in the derby – thus setting up the memorable Wembley play-off final win over Aston Villa after Slavisa Jokanovic’s side had gone 23 games unbeaten.
Maupay, who can play on either flank or as a number ten but prefers to be used as a striker, would be seen as competition for Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has scored 45 goals in his last 45 games at club level. Should the Serbian get injured or suspended, Marco Silva would have to turn to the raw Muniz or Jay Stansfield, who was brought off the bench for his Premier League debut at Molineux last weekend.