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Andersen suffers ankle injury

Fulham’s Premier League survival bid has been dealt a huge blow after new signing Joachim Andersen suffered an ankle injury in training and is set to miss at least a month’s worth of action.

The Danish international defender, signed on a season-long loan from Lyon earlier this month, picked up the injury this week at Motspur Park – meaning that his debut, anticipated to have been against Sheffield United in a crunch match at Bramall Lane this weekend, will now be delayed.

Fulham manager Scott Parker told his press conference this afternoon:

He’s damaged his ankle in training over the last couple of days so he will be out for the foreseeable future really. I wouldn’t want to put a timescale on it but it’s going to be some weeks. We’re disappointed of course because we had him for two days, we see his quality but we’re going to be without him for a little time and hopefully we’ll get him right, get him rehabbed and get him back to being part of the team.

Assessing Fulham’s Transfer Window

Given the global pandemic, the window that slammed shut on Monday has been one of the strangest yet. Given the financial constraints that clubs around the country are facing because of a lack of fans it’s no surprise that the overall spending of clubs in the Premier League was down from last year. However the pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped some clubs from spending huge amounts of money to improve their squads. Chelsea were the big spenders with £222m spent, with Leeds United, Aston Villa and Everton all among the clubs splashing the cash for players.

For Fulham, we were promised that the club wouldn’t be making the same mistakes as last time in the Premier League. Promised that we wouldn’t essentially throw aside the players who got us up for a bunch of over-priced mercenaries. To be fair to Khan and co, we certainly didn’t overspend, but rather than make the same mistakes we just made a whole load of new ones. It may have come good in the end with the two centre backs that we craved so much coming through the Motspur Park doors on Deadline Day, but Tony Khan certainly hasn’t gotten it all right this time around. I doubt any Fulham fan out there was confident in our defence going into the new season. Denis Odoi and Tim Ream are both excellent servants to the club, but they weren’t up to Premier League standard two seasons ago so upgrades were needed – and badly. And unfortunately Hector doesn’t seem up to it either, but I’m still hoping that he will come good. He maybe just needs someone confident around him. The truth of the matter is that these deals should have been done a lot earlier than they were. Our season has started in disastrous form and this is because our squad was not ready for the opener against Arsenal. While I don’t doubt that the team behind the scenes were working to bring people in, there just seems to have been too many mistakes there that have resulted in deals being completed too late.

Tony Khan has also had to go against some of his earlier summer quotes in bringing in a lot of players on loan without any sort of ‘option to buy’ clause. He made a big thing at the start of the window of saying that he isn’t in the business of developing other teams players when they don’t have the space for them regarding Ryan Sessegnon yet he has brought in a number of players including Ruben Loftus Cheek, Ademola Lookman and Joachim Andersen all on loan but with no options to buy. That said, those three players undoubtably bring a heck load of quality to the squad and I’m buzzing to have them at the club. It’s just a shame that we are doing exactly what Tony said he didn’t want to do in developing other players that teams don’t have time for currently.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The business that we have finally gotten over the line seems to be very positive. We have recruited in the areas that we desperately needed too alongside giving the squad much more depth and quality in other areas. Speaking to a Manchester City fan today it’s clear that many of them are fuming that City have let Tosin Adaraboiyo go on a permanent with no buy-back clause and for such a small sum of money. That could prove to be a fantastic piece of business in years to come. We have also brought in the heavily sought after Antonee Robinson, Kenny Tete and the already mentioned Andersen in defence while Alphonso Areola and Marek Rodak will have a competitive battle over the number one jersey between the sticks.

Our midfield was probably the place that needed the least work but it has also been upgraded considerably. Frank Zambo-Anguissa has developed greatly after his time at Villarreal and adds some real quality to that box-to-box position so it looks to be a wise decision to keep him on. Harrison Reed was brilliant for us at the end of last season so the £8million spent on him for me was worth it. Mario Lemina and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both come with real Premier League quality and as for Jean Michael Seri, we’ll have to wait and see what he really contributes to the side. He clearly has quality but there have always been question marks over whether he really wants to be in West London.

Another worrying aspect of our squad was our wingers. Unfortunately Cavaleiro and Knockaert don’t look like they will have much of an impact this year. They, alongside Aboubakar Kamara and Neeskens Kebano, aren’t really much more than squad players. They so far haven’t been able to provide much support for Mitrovic up front which has been a worry. But while those players can provide decent enough options off the bench we really needed someone who would come in and take a game by the scruff of the neck. Someone with proven quality but who has a real thirst top prove himself in England. Enter Ademola Lookman. How good has he looked in both cameos so far? He changed the game against Wolves on Sunday and provided a chance that Kamara should have finished off. Lookman looks like someone who could really flourish at Fulham and I’d have him starting every week if he is fit enough.

So all in all I’d say that our transfer window has been positive in terms of who has come through the door, but just poorly executed in terms of timings. I’ll give Tony credit for the players who have been brought in, but none whatsoever when it comes to having this squad ready for the start of the season. The worry is that the positive signings that have been brought in, players who could really make a difference, have come too late. We are four games into the season and have no points. Tony will practically be praying that he didn’t move too late. Let’s hope that he didn’t.

#COYW

Fulham complete Loftus-Cheek capture

Fulham have signed Chelsea midfielder Reuben Loftus-Cheek on a season-long loan deal.

The England international becomes the newly-promoted side’s second deadline day capture after the Whites launched a late move to secure his services. The 24 year-old has made just one senior appearance under Frank Lampard this season and held talks with the Chelsea boss earlier this week to guarantee first-team football in a bid to reignite his international career. Injuries and a lack of regular game time have seen him fallen down Gareth Southgate’s pecking order after a stellar end to the 2017/2018 season saw him included in the World Cup squad.

The attacking midfielder told Fulham’s website:

I’m really happy to come ‘next door,’ if you will! I watched Fulham at the start of the season and they looked like they’re playing decent football. With this manager, I think I can get back to my best football. That’s the main thing for me, to find my form and help this team win games.

Loftus-Cheek, who has won ten senior international caps, has been at Stamford Bridge since the age of eight. He was part of the Blues’ under-18 squad that beat Fulham in the FA Youth Cup final in 2014 and made his senior debut as a substitute in a Champions’ League win over Sporting Lisbon that December. He made his league debut against Manchester City in January 2015 and was awarded a Premier League winners’ medal by Jose Mourinho despite making just three appearances in the 2014/2015 campaign.

He scored his first professional goal against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup in January 2016 but found his opportunities limited under Antonio Conte. He starred on loan with Crystal Palace, scoring twice in 25 appearances for the Eagles as Roy Hodgson’s men stayed up despite losing their first seven league matches. He was rewarded with a first England call-up from Southgate and was part of England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia, replacing Dele Ali in England’s last-gasp opening group game win over Tunisia.

Fulham sign Adarabioyo

Fulham have signed Manchester City defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a permanent deal for an initial fee of around £1.5m.

The 23 year-old ball playing centre back has opted to move to London in pursuit of regular Premier League football having seen his path to Pep Guardiola’s first team blocked by the likes of Aymeric Laporte, new signing Reuben Dias and England international John Stones. Adarabioyo had hoped to build on the success of an excellent loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, where he scored three goals in 34 appearances last term, but City decided to cash in on one of their longstanding academy prospects with the 6ft 5in defender in the final year of his contract.

Adarabioyo, who has signed a three-year contract at Craven Cottage with the club holding a year’s extension option, told Fulham’s official website:

“I’m very excited, very excited to get going and finally be playing Premier League football. I felt like the time was right to leave and push on. It was the right time in my career to move on and hopefully get a lot of Premier League games.”

Adarabioyo, who spent the 2017/2018 campaign on loan at West Brom, joined Manchester City’s youth system aged just five. He was playing for the club’s under 18 side at just fourteen and was captaining the team just two years later. He made his professional debut in a FA Cup tie against Chelsea in February 2016 and came off the bench in a Champions’ League qualifying win over Steaua Bucharest in August 2016. Adarabioyo, who has won England caps up to under-19 level, will add depth to Scott Parker’s defensive options as the Whites have conceded eleven goals in four defeats since returning to the top flight.

Andersen joins Fulham on loan

Fulham have completed the capture of Lyon defender Joachim Anderson on a season-long loan deal, the club have confirmed tonight.

The Danish international centre back, who came through the youth academies of Copenhagen and Midtjylland, made his breakthrough as a youngster at Twente, where he made his debut as an 18 year-old. Andersen had made 49 appearances in two seasons before he signed for Sampdoria in 2017. He helped his new side finish in the top half in his first season and established himself as a first-team regular during the next campaign, making 32 appearances as Samp finished in ninth place.

That form persuaded Lyon to make him their record signing, splashing out around €30m and Andersen was part of the side that reached both the Champions’ League and French Cup semi-finals in a strong first campaign, where he linked up with Kenny Tete.

The 24 year-old told Fulham’s website tonight:

I’m really happy to make this move. I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League and playing for a nice club like Fulham. It’s a league I’ve been following since I was a child and it’s a big, big dream to play in the Premier League, so I’m looking forward to it.

Adarabioyo having Fulham medical

Manchester City centre back Toisin Adarabioyo is having a medical ahead of a proposed permanent move to Fulham, according to various reports this evening.

The 23 year-old, 6ft 5 in defender has just eight months left on his current City deal and is one of a number of defenders that Pep Guardiola is keen to move on before the close of the Premier League transfer window tonight. A fee of around £8m has been widely quoted for Adarbioyo, an England youth international, who has made three senior appearances for City.

Adarabioyo has enjoyed loan spells with West Brom, where he made 29 appearances, and at Blackburn Rovers, for whom he made 35 appearances and scored three goals, in recent seasons. He could be one of three defensive arrivals on deadline day for Fulham, with the Whites reportedly close to loan deals for Timo Baumgartl and Joachim Andersen.

Scott Parker is also apparently nearing a loan deal for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Neto earns narrow Wolves win

The league table won’t make happy reading for Scott Parker as he heads into the international break, but this was an awful lot better from Fulham. The newly-promoted side are still propping up the Premier League after four defeats from four and their chances of survival probably depend on how many centre halves they can attract to Craven Cottage by tomorrow night’s transfer deadline, but there were beaten by the narrowest of margins at Molineux this afternoon and pushed Wolves all the way.

Pedro Neto’s stunning strike sealed it ten minutes into the second half. His arrowing finish into the bottom corner was preceded by a fine block from Antonee Robinson, who had an encouraging league debut as an enterprising full back, that left Alphonse Areola, who had previously pulled off a couple of stunning double saves, with no chance. The visitors’ deflation was obvious, with four white shirts flat on their back in the aftermath of the goal, but they produced a creditable fightback, with another eye-catching cameo from Ademola Lookman to the fore, and should have claimed a valuable point only for Aboubakar Kamara to shoot tamely at Rui Patricio after the best move of the game.

Parker’s solution to Fulham’s comically porous defence was to pair Maxime Le Marchand and Tim Ream together at the heart of back four, with Joe Bryan playing in front of Robinson down the left. You felt that system was designed to shackle Adama Traore, who actually started on the bench for Wolves, but the template served the strugglers well in a first half largely devoid of presentable chances. Areola made a routine save from a Raul Jimenez header before Robinson showed plenty of adventure in carrying the ball to the edge of the Wolves box, although his shot lacked the conviction of the American’s run.

Wolves gradually upped the tempo as they found their feet following a slow start, with Areola doing brilliantly to first keep out a low drive from Neto and then block Nelson Semedo’s follow-up from eight yards out. There were few further alarms, even as Jimenez guided a near-post corner across the face of goal where there were only white shirts to clear the danger. Fulham had plenty of possession and were restricting their hosts to largely speculative efforts, with Reuben Neves dragging one fractionally wide from 20 yards out after a clever link-up between Semedo and Leander Dendoncker down the right. Areola then saved smartly from Jimenez and Dendoncker in quick succession, before the game’s decisive moment.

Ream struggled to clear his lines as he lost his footing on the edge of the box and, although Robinson got his body in the way of Dendoncker’s drive, the ball broke to Neto on the left angle of the area. Both Aleksandar Mitrovic and Aina flung themselves towards the ball, but the Portuguese winger’s true finish found the bottom corner to give Nuno’s side the lead. If anyone was expecting the floodgates to open, they would have been pleasantly surprised by the way Fulham hauled themselves off the canvas and took the game to Wolves.

Lookman, who perhaps could consider himself unlucky not to have made the starting eleven after shining from the substitutes’ bench at Brentford in midweek, immediately enlivened his new side. He created a chance out of nothing when a Wolves’ free-kick was punched in his direction by Areola. The former Charlton youngster darted away from a couple of challenges, swapped passes with Cairney and threaded a lovely ball through to Mitrovic on the right wing. The Serbian striker unselfishly squared it for Kamara, but the Frenchman’s lacklustre finish was straight at Patricio from twelve yards out.

Lookman continued to pose a nervy Wolves’ defence problems. He created an opportunity for Neeskens Kebano with another clever pass, but the Congolese winger spooned his shot over from a tight angle. Kebano made a far better connection with the game’s final opportunity, but his dipping drive cleared the crossbar after excellent hold-up play from Mitrovic. This display suggests there is plenty of spirit in the camp, but Parker badly needs reinforcements if Fulham are to be competitive in the top flight.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (3-4-3): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Kilman; N. Semedo (Hoever 78), Saiss, Neves, Dendoncker; Podence (Moutinho 70), Neto (Traore 82), Jimenez. Subs (not used): Ruddy, Buur, Vitanha, Silva.

BOOKED: Neves.

GOAL: Neto (56).

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Areola; Aina, Robinson, Ream, Le Marchand; Anguissa, Cairney; Cavaleiro (Lookman 67), Bryan (Kamara 67), Decordova-Reid (Kebano 81); Mitrovic. Subs (not used): Rodak, Odoi, Hector, Johansen.

BOOKED: Le Marchand.

REFEREE: Darren England (South Yorkshire).

Benrahma brace flattens Fulham

Scott Parker will tell you that the League Cup isn’t very high on his list of priorities – as evidenced by the ten changes for tonight’s trip to Hounslow – but an embarrassing defeat at the hands of their local rivals only served to heighten the sense of crisis engulfing Fulham. Brentford extracted a modicum of revenge for their Championship play-off final defeat at Wembley 58 days ago but the most worrying element of another frail capitulation for Parker would have been the lethargy of his second string.

Barring a fifteen minute period when Ademola Lookman’s arrival from the bench enlivened a ponderous performance, Fulham were horribly flat – a damning indictment of a side presumably selected to put pressure on Parker’s previously under par first teamers. Neeskens Kebano curled a free-kick against the top of David Raya’s near post, but the most dangerous of Fulham’s attacking moments came via the Spanish goalkeeper’s interventions. Raya, famously beaten by Joe Bryan’s Wembley free-kick, was fortunate to escape punishment for fouling Kebano after he attempted to clear the danger by the corner flag and then miskicked a clearance straight to Jean Michael Seri but Anthony Knockaert’s snapshot from the right angle of the penalty area flashed into the side netting.

The French winger’s next contribution was to play Seri into trouble with a hospital pass on the halfway line. Marcus Forss, who had handled in the box moments earlier to rule out an opening goal, showed far more desire to win the ball and Brentford quickly exploited oceans of space on the right wing. Iranian international Saman Ghoddos drove into the penalty area and cut out Maxime Le Marchand and Michael Hector with a cut back that Forss thumped past a helpless Rodak.

Parker sent on Lookman, signed on loan from RB Leipzig yesterday, and the ex-Everton winger briefly gave Fulham some dynamism in the final third. He immediately linked up impressively with Stefan Johansen down the left and pulled back a cross for Kebano, who was denied by a splendid save from Raya. Ola Aina, who looked rusty on his first Fulham appearance, sent a speculative shot wide before Lookman darted clear down the left flank and picked out Seri in the centre, only for the Ivorian to spoon a glorious chance over from ten yards out.

That miss proved pivotal. Brentford, peripheral in the second period until that point, doubled their lead three minutes later from a simple set play. Fulham’s defending was shambolic. Ethan Pinnock flicked a free-kick across the area and Said Benrahma, making his first start of the season after failing to agree a move away over the summer, strolled towards the loose ball to stroke home a simple finish. The Algerian winger’s second was altogether more magical as he fired an unerring finish into the far corner from 25 yards after embarrassing Hector with an outrageous Cryuff turn, but it still looked far too easy.

Parker had sent on Aleksandar Mitrovic in an attempt to present more of a formidable forward threat, but it was Brentford who looked more likely to add further goals. Rodak made a magnificent save to deny Emiliando Marcondes a fourth as time ticked by, but the hosts had long since done enough to reach the last eight for the first time in their history. It was hardly the sort of warm-up Parker would have envisaged for Sunday’s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers, which is increasingly looking like a crunch fixture. With no new centre halves on the horizon, even picking up a first Premier League point of the campaign looks a tall order – and, regardless of how unfair it seems, the pressure will be mounting on the Fulham boss. That magical night at Wembley feels a long way away now.

BRENTFORD (4-3-3): Raya; Fosu, Thompson, Pinnock, Sorensen; DaSilva (Norgaard 69), Marcondes, Jensen; Benrahma (Stevens 80), Ghoddos (Canos 68), Forss. Subs (not used): Daniels, Jansson, Stevens, Toney.

BOOKED: Fosu, Jensen.

GOALS: Forss (37), Benrahma (62, 78).

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Aina (Odoi 69), Robinson, Hector, Le Marchand; Johansen, Seri; Knockaert (Mitrovic 69), Kebano, Onomah (Lookman 45); Kamara. Subs (not used): Fabri, Bryan, Francois, Cairney.

BOOKED: Kamara, Johansen.

REFEREE:
Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).

Lookman joins Fulham on loan

Ademola Lookman has joined Fulham on a season-long loan from Red Bull Leipzig, the club have confirmed this afternoon.

Lookman, who came through the Charlton academy, has struggled to replicate the successes of his initial loan spell in Germany and made just thirteen appearances for Leipzig last season. He was left out of Leipzig’s squad for their draw with Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend as discussions continued about a return to London.

The 22 year-old, who spent three seasons at Goodison Park before moving to Germany, told Fulham’s official website at his delight upon finalising the deal:

I’m glad to have it over the line and done now. I’m glad I can be here to help the team. After the conversations I had with Scott Parker, I got a great feeling, that’s the working relationship I want to have. He’s young and hungry and I’m young and hungry as well so it’s a good match.

Parker ‘disappointed’ with Khan tweet

Fulham boss Scott Parker said he was ‘disappointed’ with the club’s vice-chairman Tony Khan decision to apologise for his side’s performance in last night’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.

Khan, the club’s director of football operations and son of owner Shahid Khan, took to Twitter immediately after the final whistle at Craven Cottage to apologise to supporters for another heavy Fulham defeat and pledging to sign reinforcements as well as ensure better performances from his players. Parker, who told the written media last night that the tweet was ‘not ideal,’ told the press during this afternoon’s press conference ahead of the weekend clash with Wolves that he disagreed with Khan junior’s actions.

Parker, who is still waiting for the club to bring in central defensive reinforcements since he guided Fulham back to the Premier League side via the Championship play-offs last month, said:

I think obviously I said it last night. People have the platform. You own a football club, you can decide how you want to communicate or send a message out. It’s not something I agree with, it’s not helpful from that sense but like I said that’s down to the owner and how he sees it.

There’s one thing that I’m disappointed with and that’s how he’s actually apologising for the performance and that is something that I don’t agree with and he shouldn’t have. The performance last night was a good performance which was a group of players who have done everything they can, worked tirelessly from the first minute to the 95th. From 3-0 down they were still trying work as much as they can to try and get us back in the game and for that I don’t agree with him.

Fulham are now rock bottom of the top flight, following three defeats from their first three fixtures and have conceded ten goals. Parker told the press that the club were still working on potential signings. Brazilian defender Marlon failed a medical last week, scuppering a proposed move from Sassuolo, whilst the Whites have been linked with Wolves’ Ryan Bennett and Scott Dann of Crystal Palace today.

We were in the market since Wembley. The people in the club are working their hardest. Hopefully we can get some help.