Fulham have signed Norwegian international defender Håvard Nordtveit on loan from Hoffenheim until the end of the season, the club have confirmed this evening.
The 28 year-old, who has had two previous spells in English football with Arsenal and West Ham United, helped Hoffenheim to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga last season but has found his first-team opportunities limited this term. Nordtveit had made just eight league appearances for Hoffenheim and jumped at the opportunity to try and help Fulham avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Nordtveit told Fulham’s official website tonight:
I’m really happy to have the opportunity to come back to the Premier League and hopefully help Fulham to a safe place. That would be a something that I would put high on my list in my career.
The situation Fulham is in now, it’s more or less the same that Borussia Mönchengladbach was in when I went to them from Arsenal. They were down the bottom of the table, a much worse situation, eight points off a safe place, and we made it. It’s a feeling that I want again because it’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else, just on a football pitch.
I haven’t spoken to Brede [Hangeland] about coming here but he is a good friend of mine. Of course, nothing would make me more happy than if I could fill half of his boots. He had a great career here. That’s a guy to look up to. Hopefully, I can make some good moments, like he did in a Fulham shirt.
Nordtveit, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, burst onto the scene in his native Norway as a teenager by making his first-team debut with FK Haugesund at the age of 16. He moved to Arsenal, having been watched by Arsene Wenger a year later, but couldn’t make the grade with the Gunners and left four years later without having made a senior first-team appearance in north London. He joined Borussia Mönchengladbach and helped his new club finish in the top four on three occasions, including a third-place finish in 2014. He started all six of Mönchengladbach’s Champions’ League games the following year and, after making 187 appearances, left to join West Ham.
His single season with the Hammers was something of a disappointment as Nordtveit made just 21 appearances, before Hoffenheim came calling in June 2017. The versatile 6ft 2in Norwegian has won 45 senior caps for his country, scoring two goals.
Fulham’s director of football operations Tony Khan said:
Havard is a talented defender, he’s versatile and intelligent, has extensive international and top-tier league experience, and he comes recommended as an excellent teammate. His scouting profile and his data profile are both excellent, and he arrives with the support of our manager. I believe this is a smart loan for Fulham, and we look forward to welcoming Havard to our squad
Fulham forward Aboubakar Kamara has completed a loan move to Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor on transfer deadline day.
The French forward always looked certain to leave Craven Cottage during the January window following an eventful month where he missed a penalty against Huddersfield having refused to hand the ball over to Aleksandar Mitrovic, was embroiled in a fight with the Serbian striker at Motspur Park and was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm following an altercation with a club employee at Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground.
The 23 year-old joined Fulham from Amiens in July 2017 for a fee believed to be in the region of £5m and scored seven times in 32 league appearances as the Whites won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs. Kamara scored five goals in 15 appearances this season for the Whites, but will remain in Turkey until 30 June.
Calum Chambers believes Fulham’s incredible fightback against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night shows that they ‘have the stomach for the fight’ as they battle to stay in the Premier League.
The Arsenal loanee’s first goal for the club sparked a remarkable comeback as the Whites scored four second-half goals without reply, having trailed to an early Glenn Murray brace. Chambers feels that the precious victory could serve as a turning point in their season and gives Fulham belief heading into Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
He told the Mirror after the final whistle:
We have shown we have the stomach for the fight. We were 2-0 down, conditions weren’t nice, we could have easily crumbled — but we didn’t.
We showed fighting spirit, we showed character and we showed a bit of pride. I think that’s what we are capable of and that’s what we need to do every game from now on. That’s going to be crucial. We have got to look at that second-half performance and what we did well. We have got to learn from that and take it into the next game.
That is the important thing – to try and build a bit of momentum. I think we can take a lot of positives from the second-half and go into the next games knowing we are capable of that.
Chambers also praised the impact of Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who grabbed a double to rock Brighton back on their heels.
Having him in the team can help you. He is a fighter, he is strong, and he scores goals. Having a player like him is crucial. That is why we need to use him. We need to use him as a player, know what his qualities are, and use them to our advantage.
He is a great character. He is a fighter. To have someone like that in the team is brilliant. He leads from the front. So having someone like that in the team is what we need.
There were obviously words from the manager at half time. We all spoke among ourselves as players. It was just a case of, we know it wasn’t good enough and we knew had to go out in the second-half and turn it around, show a bit of pride and character. That is what we did.
Fulham are working on a deal to sign centre back Havard Nordtveit from Hoffenheim, according to reports from Norway this evening.
The 28 year-old Norwegian international, who can also play as a holding midfielder, has had two previous spells in English football with Arsenal and West Ham United and is reportedly keen on returning to the Premier League. Nordtveit has spent the past two seasons with Hoffenheim since leaving the Hammers, but has made just eight Bundesliga performances this season.
Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri has been desperate to bring in a centre back for much of the January transfer window, but talks over a potential move for Chelsea defender Gary Cahill broke down earlier this month. The move to sign Nordtveidt, who has won 45 caps for his country, has earned a thumbs up from former Fulham captain Brede Hangeland, who himself made a January move to Craven Cottage with the club deep in the relegation mire back in 2008.
Hangeland, who now works as a television analyst, told TV2 tonight:
I can’t see any other reason why Fulham should sign him than to go straight to the team. They have no need to get someone who cannot start and reinforce the base. Håvard also has no interest in sitting on the bench in the Premier League.
Fulham has a defence that is definitely not good enough. If he is intended for a defender role, he will be an upgrade on Odoi who plays on the right of the back three right now.
Aleksandar Mitrovic revelled in what he described as ‘a magical night’ at Craven Cottage after Fulham roared back from two goals down to breeze past Brighton and Hove Albion last night.
The Cottagers breathed new life into their battle against the drop with a storming second half display that stood in stark contrast to their abysmal first half showing. Mitrovic scored two goals and came out on top in a real battle with Brighton’s two centre backs, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, after a display of classical centre forward play.
The Serbian striker told Fulham’s official website that he relished the physical battle with the Brighton centre halves:
They are tough, tough guys, really strong, tall guys, like every Premier League defender.
I enjoy competing with different defenders every week, and against Brighton I scored two goals.
I had good service second half and we played unbelievably. We got four goals, and could have scored a few more, so it really was an unbelievable night. After a very bad first half, we tried to give everything second half. We wanted to go out and do everything we could.
We scored nice and early with the first goal, then the second goal, third goal, and the fourth goal finished the game. We didn’t concede any goals at the end.
It was really a joy to play in, and the fans were unbelievable. They believed as well, like we believed, and it was a magical night, and hopefully there are more wins to come.
It was a big game, a big three points. We had an unbelievable second half. We believed, and we fought until the end, and I think we deserved this.