Reports from Italy suggest that Pajtim Kasami is poised to leave Fulham after just seven months and sign for Juventus.
Sky Italia claim that the Swiss under-21 international will complete a deal to join the Turin side over the weekend and will be immediately loaned out to Cesena for the remainder of the season.
Kasami has struggled to make much of an impact since arriving as one of Martin Jol’s first signings from Palermo for a fee believed to be around £3.5m. The 19 year-old has made 19 appearances for Fulham but has not started a first-team game since the 2-0 win in Odense back in September. The lowlight of his brief Fulham career was that missed penalty at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup, when he was fined for taking the spot-kick instead of the designated taker Orlando Sa.
The teenager, who showcased his outdated potential with several impressive displays for Palermo last season, had an excellent game for the reserves in their 1-0 win over Arsenal at Motspur Park on Tuesday.
Fulham’s reserves eased past West Brom with a clinical display in their latest Premier Reserve League fixture that was played behind closed doors at Motspur Park this afternoon. Goals from Kerim Frei, Pajtim Kasami and Orlando Sa secured all three points for Billy McKinlay’s men and Simon Davies looked lively as he completed 70 minutes in his first game since injuring his knee back in June.
McKinlay picked a strong side with Matthew Briggs starting in defence after missing out for the first-team against Liverpool last night. Frei, Kasami and Alex Kacaniklic started alongside Davies in a creative midfield, whilst Sa continued his comeback from a hamstring injury up front.
After a spell of neat possession football from the visitors, Fulham created the game’s first real opening. Frei danced away from a couple of tacklers and released Sa, but the Portuguese striker shot over the bar from a tight angle. A flowing move then saw a clever bit of trickery from Kasami fashion an opportunity for Alex Smith but the full-back couldn’t squeeze his shot between Jack Rose and the near post.
The Whites did take the lead on 20 minutes, however. Frei saw his header cleared off the line from Kasami’s corner and, when Rose did well to parry Kacaniklic’s effort, the teenager was on hand to fire home the rebound from close range. Both Frei and Kasami were increasingly influential as the first half wore on, but Fulham failed to add to their advantage before the interval.
The Baggies had a couple of chances to draw level early in the second period and Fulham were indebted to some smart goalkeeping from Neil Etheridge but McKinlay’s side clinically killed off the contest as the game entered the closing stages. Rose had made a superb save to deny Kasami after Kacaniklic had picked him out perfectly at the far post, but Fulham didn’t have to wait long for the crucial second goal.
Kasami rifled in a spectacular free-kick from the edge of the box off the underside of the crossbar after Kacaniklic had been cynically tripped. The former Palermo midfielder had a hand in the third goal as well, winning a tackle and surging down the right flank before playing in Sa with a lovely pass. Sa, who scored on his return to action against Chelsea last week, finished with aplomb, placing his shot beyond the reach of Rose.
McKinlay’s side face Liverpool in their next league game on Tuesday 20 December at Motspur Park, kickig off at 2pm. This match will also be played behind closed doors.
FULHAM RESERVES (4-5-1): Etheridge; Smith, Pritchard (Harris 19), Briggs (Dean 79), Burn; Frei, B.H. Riise, Davies (Donegan 70), Kasami, Kacaniklic; Sa. Subs (not used): Joronen, Brister.
GOALS: Frei (20), Kasami (75), Sa (77).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION RESERVES: Rose; O’Neil, Tunnicliffe, Atkinson (Nabi 45); O’Sullivan (Goldsmith 75), Mantom, Birch, Roofe; Elford-Alliyu, Sawyers. Subs (not used): Lewis, A. Jones, Turton.
Pajtim Kasami’s fine for taking a penalty – and ignoring the team instructions – at Chelsea will pay for Fulham’s Christmas party.
The Swiss under-21 midfielder hit the bar with a penalty in Fulham’s Carling Cup tie at Stamford Bridge last month, which angered Jol as Orlando Sa had been picked as the side’s penalty taker. Press reports had suggested that the players were unhappy with Jol’s decision to fine Kasami £500, something later denied by both the former Palermo man and Brede Hangeland. Jol revealed at yesterday’s press conference that the money would go towards the club’s Christmas party:
I spoke to Kasami and he agreed he was wrong. If you’ve got a disciplined team and I tell someone to take the free-kicks, for example, a 19-year-old boy shouldn’t take the ball off him. It’s okay if he scores, but I still would’ve talked to him.
Danny Murphy’s my penalty taker and Bobby [Zamora] can take a penalty. I don’t think in the next game somebody else should take the ball. That’s undisciplined.
If someone is late for dinner before an away match, I think it’s undisciplined and I don’t want that either. At the start of the season I spoke about it [a fines system], and the money’s coming back to us for dinner and drinks.
Fulham’s second string put in a promising performance at Stamford Bridge this evening but were left ruing their missed chances as they crashed out of the Carling Cup on penalties. Pajtim Kasami missed a spot-kick in normal time and Moussa Dembele and Bryan Ruiz failed in the shoot-out as ten-man Chelsea progressed 4-3 on penalties.
Martin Jol opted to radically reshape his team ahead of the trip to West Brom in the league on Saturday. Matthew Briggs and Stephen Kelly started at full-back, with Zdenek Gygera moving to centre back to partner Philippe Senderos. The new-look defence did well, nullifying the threat posed by debutant Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge. Marcel Gecov impressed on his first start in central midfield, but the real star of the show was 17 year-old Kerim Frei, whose willing running and creativity caused real problems for Chelsea’s defence, and won the penalty early in the second half.
In a game that became more open as it progressed, Chelsea had the better chances in the first period. Andres Vilas-Boas opted for a blend of youth and experience. Young midfielder Josh McEachran caught the eye with a mature performance alongside the former Barcelona youngster Oriel Romeu and it was the teenager who created the first clear-cut chance. The 18 year-old’s persistence saw the ball break kindly for him 25 yards from goal and he beat two Fulham defenders as he sped into the penalty area. His low shot beat Mark Schwarzer and looked to be heading for the far corner, only for Sturridge to slide it over the line. It was a costly touch as Sturridge, so impressive at Bolton on loan last season, was offside and also injured his knee in the process.
Chelsea had a couple of other presentable opportunities too. A wonderfully-timed challenge from Kelly stopped Florent Malouda from opening the scoring and Salomon Kalou flicked a header wide from the French winger’s dangerous cross moments later. The Ivorian also shot wastefully wide after Schwarzer had pushed out Lukaku’s shot from the angle of the penalty area. Fulham operated mostly on the break in the first period, but did offer a goal threat. Ruiz threaded an inviting ball through for Orlando Sa, but before the Portuguese striker could shoot, Alex arrived to make a goal-saving tackle. Sa also slipped as he attempted to cross for Ruiz during a bright debut and, in a frantic finale to the first period, collided with Petr Cech, who was replaced by Ross Turnbull at half-time, when challenging for a cross.
Fulham almost enjoyed the perfect start to the second half as a lovely back-heel from Ruiz released Frei who cut inside Alex and was brought down by the centre half. Referee Chris Foy took a moment after awarding the penalty before showing the Brazilian a red card – having considered him the last man – but Kasami struck the bar with the spot-kick. Foy turned down loud Fulham shouts for a second penalty when Romeu appeared to push Sa to the floor and Vilas-Boas quickly reorganised replacing the unfortunate McEarchan with John Terry.
The visitors continued to push for a goal with Turnbull called into action to make sharp saves from Moussa Dembele, found by a deflected Chris Baird free-kick, and then Kasami. The closest Fulham came to a goal was when Terry’s back header looked to be looping into the Chelsea net only for Turnbull to tip it over. The former Middlesbrough keeper was less than convincing when he flapped at a Kasami corner and Baird shot disappointing wide from eight yards. Frei also found himself through on the goalkeeper, but had to take the chance with his weaker left foot and the finish lacked both power and direction.
Chelsea also had opportunities as the game drifted towards extra-time. A combination of Gygera, Frei and Kasami scrambled Lukaku’s header off the line at a late corner and Ryan Bertrand shot wastefully at Schwarzer having worked a terrific one-two with Malouda. Extra-time brought few clear cut chances, with Lukaku wasting one of the best when he capitalised on a defensive mistake to be one-on-one with Schwarzer, only for the Australian to kick the ball to safety. Aside from a speculative Bobby Zamora shot, Fulham’s best chance fell to Steve Sidwell, who was a matter of inches away from stealing victory against his former club with a venomous volley.
The shoot-out started well when Schwarzer saved from Lampard, but Dembele placed his penalty too close to Turnbull and Ruiz’s final kick hit the crossbar twice, bouncing on – but apparently not over – the goal-line in between to condemn Fulham to an agonising defeat.
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech (Turnbull 45); Ferreira, Bertrand, Luiz, Alex; Romeu, McEarchan (Terry 52), Malouda; Sturridge (Lampard 44), Lukaku, Kalou. Subs (not used): Bosingwa, Mikel, Mata, Drogba.
SENT OFF: Alex (47).
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Briggs, Senderos, Grygera; Baird, Gecov (Sidwell 90); Frei, Ruiz, Kasami (Zamora 79); Sa (Dembele 59). Subs (not used): Etheridge, Halliche, J. A. Riise, Kacaniklic.
REFEREE: Chris Foy (Merseyside).
Fulham’s Pajtim Kasami scored as Switzerland’s under-21s bounced back from an indifferent start to their European Championship qualifier campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Croatia in Sion.
The Swiss youngsters, who reached the final of this summer’s tournament before losing to Spain, flattered to deceive during a disappointing opening draw with Estonia on Friday night. They put that performance behind them with a display of attacking football that had the Croatians on the back foot from the outset.
Steven Zuber underlined an impressive start with a drilled finish from Rolf Feltscher’s cross on eight minutes. Nzuzi Toko put the contest beyond the visitors, who had made a strong start to the second half, with the second goal just after the hour mark. Toko then set up the third for Kasami, who has struggled to establish himself in the Fulham side since a strong home debut against RNK Split, and the Fulham midfielder laid on number four with a clever pass for substitute Haris Seferovic to lash home from just outside the area.
The Swiss, who now have four points from six, take on Georgia next on October 7th.