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Building a Fulham fit for the Premier League

Fulham are returning to the Premier League with some swagger after a superb season that has seen them storm to the top of the Championship. I would like to extend my congratulations to Marco Silva, his backroom team and the squad for one of the best campaigns since the Slavisa Jokanovic era. I am looking Fulham to seeing Fulham hold their own in the top flight with Silva, who is clearly a top manager with a point to prove in the Premier League.

Everyone has started speculating about the season to come. The new Riverside Stand is almost built and will welcome supporters for the first time next season. It shows the ambition of chairman Shahid Khan to take the club into an exciting new era and is obviously pivotal to the development of alternative revenue streams. My mind does wander to thinking about how the rest of the stands might match the Riverside project in time and what a truly modern Craven Cottage might look like. The current version marries the unique throwback qualities of the Cottage, an undoubted piece of British footballing heritage, with the glamour of Wembley and an American feel courtesy of our custodians. You just can’t hate it.

I am not as sold on the kits the side currently play in. I didn’t like this season’s home strip but the biggest problem is Adidas and I’d advocate a move away from them. I know a few fans have documented their disappointment with the current kit supplier and I feel that their lack of ambition and change makes the current relationship deeply disappointing. The goalkeeper kits are the most obvious because you see the very same design and colours worn by other clubs. I would personally like to move to Puma or Nike, who can actually manufacture excellent kits.

Over the years we have had some outrageous colours for kits – from the famous Harrods green and gold, to the navy blue for the Europa League final and the luminous yellow numbers. I would love a reprise of the classic red and black away kit from Great Escape season. The classic yellow goalkeeper jersey from 2001/02 could make a welcome return, whilst I would like to add the Craven Cottage logo on the back, which was a nice touch in 2020/21.

I might well be the only fan who feels we need to update the badge, which has been around since 2001, when it was foisted on the fanbase following our promotion from Division One. It is long past time for a refresh – and an upgraded version would suit a modern, upwardly ambitious side, with hints of the old crest from 1947.

The most serious business this summer will be preparing a squad fit for the top tier of English football. Fulham’s recruitment team do at least have more time to prepare than our previous promotions: the last window for acquisitions after the Covid-delayed play-off final triumph over Brentford was ridiculously short. Manor Solomon seems set to sign from Shakhtar Donestsk and there is no doubt that the Israeli international is an exciting arrival. But it is clear that we need much more. Fulham are desperate for defensive reinforcement as well as needing legs in midfield and arguably another wide player. Fulham have already been written off as certainties for relegation, but shrewd signings can make Silva’s tough task of keeping the Whites above water a little easier.

The easiest decision to make early in the pre-season preparations will be retaining Neco Williams for another year. Whether it will have be another loan or the Whites can land the Welsh full back on a permanent basis for an acceptable fee, remains to be scene. His understanding with Harry Wilson along the right flank makes it a no-brainer, even if there are concerns about his defensive vulnerability in the Premier League. Any problems in the defensive third are offset by his sense of adventure and crossing ability, which could be crucial to supplying service for Aleksandar Mitrovic.

I’ve taken the liberty of shortlisting a list of potential targets for Fulham.

Goalkeeper:

There will be debate about if we need a new keeper? Or if Marek Rodak deserves a chance in the top tier of English football? I’m not convinced that the Slovakian is Premier League quality – and I can see why the Fulham hierarchy are looking elsewhere.

Bernd Leno an experienced Premier League keeper who has spent a number of years at Arsenal but as of late haven’t featured as much for them. The 30 year old will bring soildarity for Fulham, he is a very commanding keeper which is needed for the defensive part of Fulham. Transfermarkt value ~ £9million.

The next is fan favourite Alphonse Areola – they say you shouldn’t fall in love with a loan player and I for sure “didn’t”. He can do a job for Fulham. I don’t need to talk about this man when everyone knows what he is like and how good he was for Fulham. He kept 10 clean sheets in all competition for Fulham during his loan spell at the club. Transfermarkt value ~ £8.1million.

The next keeper I would look at is Nick Pope, the 30 year old English national is a top keeper and a move back to London would be tempting. He is an establish keeper in the premier league. The shot-stopper would be a upgrade and commander. A potential captain for Fulham and would put the defence in their place. Transfermarkt value ~ £13.5million.

My last keeper that I would look to take is Mark Flekken having played nearly every game for SC Freiberg is averaging goals conceded at under 1 per game. The dutch national currently has 11 clean sheets with 29 goals conceded at 31 games in all competition. The Dutch national has helped his club SC Freiberg reach the DFB Pokal Final. Strengths – Long passing, saving long shots, shot stopped, close range. Weaknesses – crosses. Transfermarkt value ~ £4.5million.

Defenders:

My first pick is Jonathan Tah, we have been linked with the 26 year old previously and a revisit should be on the list after  performances but a injury prone player might put alt on our pursuit. Transfermarkt value ~ £22.5million.

My next pick is Jeremiah St. Juste, a Dutch national and a speedster. Both of these options would be an upgrade on our captain America, Tim Ream, who has served us so selflessly but risks being caught out again at the highest level. Transfermarkt value ~ £14.4million.

I have chosen Jeffrey Gouweleeuw purely for squad depth, although it would be entertaining to hear Gentleman Jim having a go at pronouncing his name. Gouweleeuw is another cultured Dutch defender, who can fill in with variety should an injury occur. Transfermarkt value ~ £4.05million.

The former Manchester City man Jason Denayer is now plying his trade for Lyon in France. He’s a quality player and might be tempted by another crack at the Premier League. Transfermarkt value ~ £15.3million.

Joe Gomez has seen his first-team opportunities limited at Liverpool and might well be looking to move on to gain regular playing time ahead of the Qatar World Cup. The former Charlton academy graduate might fancy a return to London and, despite being a bit injury prone, he would be a strong signing. Transfermarkt value ~ £19.8million.

Marcos Senesi; 24 year old Argentine centre back, currently at Feyenoord. A nonsense centre back in the Joachim Andersen. His style of play consists of dribbling with the ball, tackling and committing the odd honourable foul. His strengths are passing the ball, ball interception. His weakness he lack concentration. Transfermarkt value ~ £10.8million.

Matt Targett is one of the two left backs I would take at Fulham. The former loanee would be first choice for this position as he still has a lot to give at the top level. Currently on loan at Newcastle after losing his position at Aston Villa to Luca Digne (a player Marco Silva brought to the premier league for Everton.) Transfermarkt value ~ £15.30million.

The second left back I would take is Northern Ireland international Jamal Lewis. Underrated and underused at Newcastle. Transfermarkt value ~ £9million.

Midfielders

Nicolas Dominguez, the 23 year old Bologna midfielder, would be an ideal signing in my opinion. He can hit a good early ball, has an excellent range of passing and a longer pass could benefit the likes of Wilson and Solomon who can get in behind the defence of the opposition. Strengths – through ball, concentration and getting in good blocks. Transfermarkt value ~ £11.7million.

Yangel Herrera, a coveted Manchester City youngster who has been loaned out regularly, is too good to be wasting his career with lower-ranked Spanish sides. Style of play consists of indirect set pieces threat, driblbing, playing short passes. Strengths – Defensive contribution, blocking the ball, concentration. Weakness – passing. Transfermarkt value ~ £16.2million.

Andre Gomes is a player Silva knows from his time at Goodison Park and if Everton were to go down, I think he would feature prominently on the Portuguese coach’s shortlist. Transfermarkt value ~ £18million.

Morgan Sanson, the French midfielder at Aston Villa, hasn’t been given much of a chance in the Premier League and we might be able to take advantage of any disillusionment. Transfermarkt value ~ £12.6million.

Bryan Heynen – the Belgian ball-player has a 86% passing completion rate since 2016. Heynen, a set-piece specialist, likes to play short passing and through balls. At 25, he has a decent amount of experience and would be an interesting acquisition. Transfermarkt value ~ £5.85million.

Seko Fofana – I’d love to acquire our former loanee for a second spell at Craven Cottage, even if it seems a bit far-fetched. The former Manchester City midfielder is enjoying an outstanding campaign at RC Lens, but the Whites would obviously face competition in the transfer market. Transfermarkt value ~ £18million.

Marc Roca, the Spaniard at Bayern Munich, would offer a combination of long balls, long-range shooting and shithousery. At 25, there would be the possibility of significant resale value should he play well at Craven Cottage. Transfermarkt value ~ £66.30million.

Corentin Tolisso, soon to be out of contract, would be a no-brainer but whether he would fancy a more to Fulham would be questionable. Transfermarkt value ~ £13.50million.

Wingers

Justin Kluivert would be a wonderful signing for Fulham and the prospect of playing in the Premier League might make a move to London appealing. Transfermarkt value ~ £13.5million.

Ryan Sessegnon seems to be making a decent fist of impressing Antonio Conte at Tottenham, but I can’t help thinking it would be time to bring the boy home. Transfermarkt value ~ £13.5million.

Cody Gakpo, a young Dutchman with PSV, would be a real statement of intent. Transfermarkt value – £22.50million

Filip Kostic, the 29 year old Serbian mastermind, would be a brilliant foil for Aleksandar Mitrovic. He loves crossing the ball and can hit an accurate shot from distance. A real creator who can unlock defences and is excellent on set pieces. Transfermarkt value ~ £18million.

Tarik Tissoudali, a Moroccan left sided man, who like to play through balls and regularly dribbles past his man. Transfermarkt value ~ £6.75million.

Charles De Ketelaere – he has scored eighteen goals and added nine assists in 43 games for Club Brugge. That is an incredible strike rate for a 21 year-old. Transfermarkt value ~ £27million.

My top 8 signings:

1) Areola

2) Targett

3) Senesi

4) Dominguez 

5) Roca

6) Fofana

7) Kostic

8) De Ketelaere 

The state of squad:

The squad is short on Premier League quality with plenty of deadwood on the fringes. There are a number of players out of contract in the summer – including Fabri, Hector, Mawson, Seri, Francois and Kebano – with Fabio Carvalho ready to graduate to our productive youth development partnership with Liverpool.

Here is my take on who to retain, release or replace:

Rodak ? Doesn’t deserve to be sold; definitely can be back up.

Gazzaniga ?perfect third choice 

Fabri ?never got his chance but has reportedly been excellent with our young goalkeepers

Tosin ? Should be a starter, but badly needs a good partner for the Premier League 

Mawson ? out of contract, injury prone and we can only thank him for his service. When not injured he has been great for us.

Hector ? never did anything wrong just never worked out with Silva solid player for the championship whoever signs him.

Kongolo ? refund?

Ream ? probably on his way out of the club I would personally like him to stay but we will probably have a new vision for the top flight.

Robinson & Bryan – I reckon one of these two will be sold if we pursue a new left back

Tete ? quality right back

Seri ? deserves another chance after his last stunt in the Premier League 

Chalobah ? deserves to be in a team that needs someone like him. Just doesn’t fit Fulham. 

Reed ? needs a goal some would say he is too good. Quality Premier league player

Cairney ? on the edge for this player if not injured can be very good for us in the top flight.

Onomah ? loan move 

Francois ? Looks like he could be on his way out, but will need a loan move if he is convinced to sign a new deal

Decordova-Reid ? good player to have on the bench

Carvalho ? set to leave to join Liverpool 

Cavaleiro ? no comment 

Kebano ? good player to come off the bench

Wilson ? Superb first season at the Cottage and we need to see whether he can do it in the top flight

Knockaert ? Just never worked

Mitrovic ? Has a point to prove in the Premier League – and has been on fire for Serbia

Muinz ? Train him up as Mitrovic’s understudy, although he will need more gametime 

Players currently out on loan;

Anguissa ? Looks likely to sign permanently with Napoli and wasn’t interested in playing in the Championship

Christie ? Deserves the move to Swansea that appears to be on the horizon

Sessegnon ? loan move

Fossey ? Out of contract in the summer; could well sign for Bolton after his brilliant loan spell

Youth development and academy 

Something clearly needs to change with the way we handle our brightest talents. We can’t keep losing our outstanding prospects – like Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho – to Liverpool or other suitors. The signs are more promising with Jay Stansfield recently signing a new deal, but it is vital to keep youngsters of the calibre of Luke Harris and Ollie O’Neill. we can not keep losing our best youths for such little fees for example Harvey Elliot and Fabio Carvalho to Liverpool. 

We have one of the best academy in the country producing some up and coming prospects such as Sonny Hilton, Ziyad Larkeche, Harris, Adrion Pajaziti, Stansfield, Kieron Bowie, Olly Sanderson and O’Neill all excelling in a superb PL2 campaign. Accelerating the pathway to the first team squad will be the best way to reduce the amount of money Shahid Khan has to invest in transfers. Pajaziti and Hilton might be on the fringes of the first team squad if they decide to stay this summer, whilst Larkeche has shown enough to earn a loan opportunity that should give him a taste of senior football.

The development conundrum

The elephant in the room as we wait to see whether Fabio Carvalho will make the move to Liverpool before the January window closes is Fulham’s ambitions to be a club that develops young talent. Producing a conveyor belt of future prospects is a laudable aspiration – and the Whites have made significant progress by transforming their academy set up under Huw Jennings – but being a category one academy will always be undermined unless the club can keep hold of their brightest stars. The biggest clubs will always poach the best players, but last summer’s academy reorganisation appears to have been a recognition that things needed to change at Motspur Park.

To an extent, Fulham are hamstrung by not playing in the Premier League at present – there will always be attractive destinations elsewhere until the Whites are able to establish themselves at the elite level of English football again. It is almost indisputable that Fulham have lost two many of their talented youngsters to the top clubs in recent years, often for a fraction of their market value. Maybe Patrick Roberts and Ryan Sessegnon recouped significant funds for the club but the likes of Mousa Dembele and, mostly recently, Mika Biereth moved on for paltry development fees. There is the added frustration that, often, those moves to the big clubs don’t work out for the player concerned. Currently, Harvey Elliott – progressing well at Anfield until a horrible injury – appears an outlier.

We can blame Fulham for how they handled these situations. The Carvalho predicament is far from the first time we have seen a burgeoning talent reach the final year of his contract and attract a swarm of suitors. We can blame Liverpool for turning the head of a prodigious talent – and this feels comfortable since Carvalho’s case is so similar to that of Elliott. But perhaps the biggest culprits at present are the agents promising riches to their clients, who will rather be playing football. A system that allows vulnerable youngsters to be viewed as commodities by all parties is manifestly unfit for purpose.

I’m less convinced that Fulham are heading for hardship should Carvalho be on his way today. Some of our sparkling performances earlier in the season came when he wasn’t in Marco Silva’s side and the squad should still have enough to clinch promotion from the Championship. It should spark some soul searching amongst the Fulham hierarchy that another bright young thing has been spirited away for a pittance – although the club would probably point to Jay Stansfield signing a contract extension last week as evidence that things are changing.

That category one academy status – and the recent success of our under 18 and under 23 sides – still makes Fulham an attractive proposition for young talent. Some of the most consistent performers under Steve Wigley should soon be in a position to get a first-team opportunity. Sylvester Jasper and Sonny Hilton are probably the likeliest to be promoted to the senior squad, whilst Ollie O’Neill and Luke Harris look ridiculously gifted for their tender ages. How we manage their development – and contractual status – going forward will be crucial for the club’s long-term health.

The structure of the Carvalho deal remains the subject of fevered speculation. Fulham have been steadfast in their insistence that he wouldn’t be leaving before the end of the season, something Silva stated publicly in Friday’s press conference. You would think it would take a massive offer to change that position – one more substantial that the £5m figure that has been splashed across the tabloids. There would need to be add-ons and clauses related to Carvalho’s future performances. There have been suggestions that we would be asking for a loan back to Craven Cottage, but I wouldn’t take him back. Either the player is fully committed to Fulham or he wants his dream move. If he leaves, we can thank him for the glimpses of his undoubted talent and move on.

Fragile Fulham lacked fight

Our Saturday lunchtime date with Coventry turned horribly sour in the second half. Perhaps the most alarming element of Fulham’s second half collapse was the fact that the visitors seemed to lack the stomach for the fight. We need to start being honest with ourselves. The Championship is one of the toughest divisions in the world to get out of. You have to wonder whether the idea that this side would walk the league, amassing a hundred-plus points, had percolated through to the players. It simply isn’t going to happen – but the team looked like they believed they only needed to turn up to win.

As the old proverb goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. It seems inconceivable that Marco Silva and his backroom stuff hadn’t prepared meticulously for Coventry. Mark Robins’ men might have exceeded all the early season expectations with a fine start – they are a serious proposition on their own patch, as evidenced by their 100% record back at their own ground, and have a forward line to rival any in the league. Silva savaged his players’ second half showing afterwards – nothing went right from when Ream and Onomah got in each other’s way after Gazzaniga’s wayward pass, a mistake that highlighted both an absence of communication and a lack of awareness.

It would be easy to blame the second half collapse on the dreadful penalty decision but, although the officials at this level consistently fall below an acceptable standard, Silva was right to say it wasn’t the reason why Fulham slumped so badly. Robinson was unfortunate to be penalised for what was a shocking day, but Fulham’s defence had already been lackadaisical in the penalty area. It took a terrific saving tackle from Harrison Reed to prevent the peerless Callum O’Hare from sauntering through a terribly porous back line, which saw Matty Godden the chance to throw himself down. Denis Odoi endured an awful afternoon, giving away countless free kicks in dangerous positions, and consistently finding himself in the wrong position when sky blue shirts ran at him.

You could have been forgiven for thinking Fulham felt the job was done after the first 45 minutes. We simply weren’t awake. There was a distinct lack of closing down, with home players allowed to pop off shots from inside the area – Ian Maatsen’s strike was a perfect example of this. Odoi didn’t get to him quickly enough and suddenly the game had got away from us. The frustration was evident both in the stands and on the pitch but everyone in black has to take a long hard look at themselves. I’m confused as to how some starters remain fixtures in the team. Fulham offered painfully little going forward after the break. Wilson was largely anonymous again, although I’m confused why he isn’t on the free-kicks.

I could spent a long time detailing the failings of a number of players, but the painful truth is most of Silva’s starting line up simply wasn’t good enough. This was our worst showing since the Scott Parker days – forget the defeats by Blackpool and Reading – having got ourselves into a winning position, collapsing like that was utterly unforgiveable.

Gazzaniga: I’m not as down on him as some elements of the fanbase, but there comes a time when you have to realise, it isn’t working. Rodak is proven at this level and was starting for Slovakia as they qualified for Euro 2020. A change in goal is long past necessary. 1

Odoi: There still seems to be a sense amongst some of the fanbase the Belgian is beyond criticism after his service to the club. He looks woefully short of the defensive standard required at right back. When wide players are running at him, he appears completely out of his depth. The decision not to recruit a new man in this position after Tete’s injury is proving more and more costly. 2

Robinson: The American shouldn’t have started for me if Bryan was fit enough to be on the break. He gave Gavin Ward a decision to make by leaving his leg out for Godden to go to ground and comprehensively lost the battle with Dabo on the Coventry right. Too many of his passes went astray and, despite being a sublime athlete, he makes too many elementary mistakes. 2

Mawson: I actually felt sorry for the big man. He was wanted eighteen months for a league start and was drafted into to this mess. Comfortably Fulham’s best defender – although that is really damning him with feint praise – and he dealt with most of the balls into the box. 5

Ream: That dreadful mistake right at the start of the second half seemed to see him go to pieces. You just had a sense he wasn’t going to recover from the stumble and heavy touch after Gazzaniga’s poor pass, although Onomah’s part in this comedy of errors shouldn’t be forgotten about. I expected more leadership and communication from one of Fulham’s most experienced players. 3

Reed: I felt Harrison was lacking in a lot of departments this afternoon and was getting frustrated watching him by the end. 4

Onomah: Certainly didn’t take his chance after Silva’s strange decision to leave Seri out. Typified our lack of intensity in a dozy performance that culminated in his crazy blocking off of Ream for Coventry’s equaliser. 3

Decordova-Reid: Was he even out there? Missing in action. 4

Kebano: The Congolese winger was far from our worst performer, but he wasn’t good either. First touch had gone to pieces long before he was hauled off and you can see why a succession of managers have seen fit to only use him as an impact sub. 5

Wilson: Seems to be struggling now that sides are taking steps to limit his effectiveness. Coventry cleared put two men on him this afternoon and that dramatically reduced the Welshman’s impact. He might be better suited to filling the number ten role in Carvalho’s absence. 3

Mitrovic: Looked to have the beating of McFadzean in the first half – not just in the air, but in the way he was dropping deep to link up the play effectively. Hardly saw any of the ball after the break but you could totally understand his frustration after he was blocked off by Clarke-Salter as he tried to burst through the Coventry defence, even if his boiling rage resulted in an unnecessary booking. 5

Moving forward, there could be a case for changing the system slightly. A lot of Championship sides have successfully deployed a back three this season and, with Mawson’s return to the side, there is the potential to play three centre halves. Tosin was sorely missed today – and simply can’t be dropped or rotated again. Bryan has to start on the left and operating as a wing back might reduce defensive deficiencies. Decordova-Reid did well at right wing back last season and might be worth a try until Tete is fully fit. Rodrigo Muniz probably deserves a start after a number of bright cameos off the bench – I’d like to see him partnered with Mitrovic up top from the start against QPR. Suddenly, the derby looks like a massive game after the international break.

Reflections on Fulham’s first defeat

Where to begin? Fulham’s unbeaten record is no more after Marco Silva’s side were humbled at the seaside today as Blackpool battled to their first league win of the season. The Tangerines thoroughly deserved their victory this afternoon – they were clearly the better side on the day and there was a worrying lack of intensity, flair and desire from a Fulham side who looked very flat after the international break.

After the euphoria of four straight wins, it is easy to forget that Fulham’s Championship campaign actually began with an underwhelming draw against Middlesbrough when Silva’s side appeared to take their foot on the pedal and allow their opponents back into a game that should have been beyond them. Fulham were similarly sloppy this afternoon – giving the ball away carelessly and seemingly surprised by the unrelenting nature of Blackpool’s high press and their energy both in and out of possession.

Silva has spoken throughout his time in charge about the need to maintain the high standards he has set for his squad. They certainly slipped this afternoon – and this defeat should serve as a timely reminder that nothing is won in the early weeks of the season. It may be too early to offer a take on this Fulham squad, but we are looking more and more like vintage Fulham.

Silva has made this team more alive than in the any of the past three seasons. The new manager is hungry to prove that he can still crack English football and he has certainly made life down by the River Thames enjoyable again. There can be no doubt about the fact that he has been the driver of the club’s transfer strategy, having brought in several signings over the course of the summer. The acquisitions of Wilson and Gazzaniga came quickly after Silva’s appointment and he was the pivotal factor in the purchase of Rodrigo Muniz. Similarly, he has held a longstanding interest in Nathaniel Chalobah since his time at Watford. Perhaps the only thing he didn’t get in the transfer window was a new right back after Kenny Tete’s injury. I might be one of the few Fulham fans who considers such a signing a priority as I sadly believe that Denis Odoi is well past his peak as a full back.

Gazzaniga hasn’t had much to do in the games I’ve seen this season but he doesn’t look too confident when the crosses come in. You’d have to think that Championship clubs will test him out under the high ball the longer the season goes on. The Argentine will be disappointed to have let Josh Bowler’s winner go through him at the near post this afternoon – and you can make an argument for him probably needing to do better for several of the goals Fulham have conceded this season. I would have liked to have seen Marek Rodak return between the sticks, especially after how impressively he performed the last time we were at this level, but either keeper is fine for me.

The surprise central midfield combination of Jean-Michael Seri and Josh Onomah has been one of the most unremarked parts of Silva’s summer evolution. Today was probably the first game where that partnership didn’t really do enough. Onomah came close with a couple of shots, but Seri gave the ball away in dangerous area far too regularly – one of which led to the Blackpool winner. You can’t question Seri’s commitment to date and, even if I might still quibble about certain technical elements of Onomah’s game, it would be churlish to deny that he’s had an impressive start to the season.

Blackpool handled Mitrovic well today, isolating him from his team-mates for much of the contest, but I would suggest that was easier in the absence of Carvalho and Wilson. Muniz looks like a good addition to the side – he linked up well with Mitrovic in his cameo today – and created more in ten minutes than the team had managed in the previous eighty. I feel like Wilson will be a regular source of goals and assists, as will the lively Bobby Decordova-Reid.

We shouldn’t get too down about a defeat to an unfancied side. Such is the unpredictability of the Championship – I’m sure there will be more of these results before the season is out. The Whites are still well placed after the first four weeks of the season and, mostly importantly, Silva has brought the enjoyment back to watching Fulham. Improvements will be necessary and he will demand them. I can’t wait to get back to watching the Whites at Craven Cottage.

What do Fulham need in the final hours of the transfer window?

The transfer window will finally slam shut on Tuesday and Fulham are in the unusual position – in recent years, at least – of having already conducted the majority of their business. Marco Silva has signed three players – two of whom have quickly become key fixtures in his starting eleven as the Whites have stormed to the top of the Championship. Paulo Gazzaniga has started every league game in goal and Harry Wilson has added dynamism and goalscoring ability down the right flank.

Against the prevailing narrative of Fulham blowing huge wads of cash in an immediate attempt to return to the Premier League, the pair cost next to nothing. Gazzaniga arrived on a free transfer following his release by Tottenham earlier this summer, whilst Wilson has signed on an initial loan with payments on his permanent transfer from Liverpool deferred until next summer. The protracted saga of Rodrigo Muniz’s switch from Flamengo has now concluded, but only the first payment of two sets of £3.4m has been shelled out.

There have also been departures from Craven Cottage this summer. Stefan Johansen joined QPR and proven a key component in Rangers’ impressive start to the new season, whilst Aboubakar Kamara completed a move to Aris that may net Fulham as much as £4m. The precise nature of the deal that took Maxime Le Marchand to Strasbourg at the end of last week is not known, but contrary to some reports on Friday, Fulham did receive a fee. There may yet be further outgoings with Silva suggesting that Cyrus Christie could well leave the club early next week as the Republic of Ireland international is not in his plans and several Italian sides still hold a serious interest in Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Silva’s squad is stacked full of talent but the head coach himself has made plain that he would like to supplement his resources in the final days of the window. There remains a lack of depth in terms of defensive midfielders, even though Harrison Reed’s return as a substitute against Stoke City this weekend was welcome. The proposed move for Matt Grimes appears to have gone quiet, but being linked with a replacement of the pedigree of William Carvalho was particularly eye opening. Fulham might also need a back up number ten as concerns persist about Tom Cairney’s long-term fitness – however well Fabio Carvalho has taken to senior football.

Silva did speak earlier in the window about the possibility of adding defensive cover, which might be a subject broached again in the corridors of power at Motspur Park now that Le Marchand has returned to France. There were surprising links with a loan for Manchester United’s Phil Jones last week, but his lack of game time over the past two years and a questionable injury record would make that something of a gamble – especially as Fulham already have two injury-prone defenders on their books. A younger alternative, such as the former Milan centre half Rodrigo Ely, could prove a sensible signing. In more recent days, the focus has been on a potential attention at right – given the seriousness of Kenny Tete’s hamstring injury – and it remains to be seen whether Denis Odoi’s assured display yesterday has changed Silva’s mind about re-entering the transfer market.

Silva’s system demands quality in the wide areas and I’d love the romance of offering Ryan Sessegnon a respite from his struggles at Spurs. He is a proven goalscorer at Championship level and desperately needs to recover his confidence after injuries and a lack of first-team football have several hampered his development in north London. You fancy he’d flourish in the Silva system and a consistent run of games would help him recover that zest that made him one of the country’s most promising talents.

Fulham do love a dramatic transfer deadline day – and I suspect the club will still have several irons in the fire. There will be links a plenty and Silva has been quite vocal about the fact that his work to improve the squad will not finish until the deadline passes. There’s no doubt that the club is going places will be an attractive proposition to potential signings, so hold onto your hats.