With the season over, there is still plenty of action surrounding Fulham Football Club to discuss.
Firstly, Fulham’s leading goal scorer for the past two seasons, Ross McCormack continues to be linked with a move away from Craven Cottage with Newcastle, Norwich City & Aston Villa reportedly interested in the striker.
While it may be unthinkable to see Fulham without McCormack, there is a lot to think about before anything happens. Back in February the striker penned an extension to his current deal that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2020. The benefit of this extension is that the Scot will not leave for pennies should another club submit a bid. There have been rumours suggesting that this extension included a £12m buyout clause, but in the last 24 hours a few journalists have stated that the actual price is slightly higher than reported. Good news for the Fulham faithful is that should the talismanic forward leave, there will be a sizeable fund to recruit a replacement.
Just to clarify, I am not stating that I would be happy if Ross left the club, but it wouldn’t be all doom and gloom if he did leave the club, depending on the quality of the replacement that would be bought. What is key about his rumoured departure will be the timing of the deal.
Fulham have too often lost key players towards the end of the transfer window, leaving too little time to spend the funds generated. You only have to remember the messy and late departures of Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele to remind yourselves of the chaos that left us in. It’s no surprise that there is interest in McCormack though, he is truly one of the best players outside of the Premier League – Not only is he a proven goal scorer, the forward creates plenty of chances and goals for his team mates. This seasons haul of 23 goals and 9 assists would have been impressive for a promotion winning side, let alone a team fighting to stay in the division. Nevertheless, we are in no rush to sell any of our star players due to the financial backing of Shahid Khan, so any interested party would have a lot of persuading to do should they want to sign McCormack this summer.
The rumour mill is in flow with Fulham reportedly submitting a £1.5m bid for Blackburn defender, Grant Hanley. An interesting bit of business should the reports be true. Hanley like most of our Championship signings, won the award for Player of the Season. While this award backs up Hanley’s performances this season, based on previous signings it wouldn’t guarantee success.
Interestingly, I have received mixed reports from the Blackburn fans that I have spoken to. Some fans suggest he is worth no more than £2-3m, which would mean our opening bid is being considered – while others, suggest he is priceless and would cost close to £5m-£7m like his defensive partner, Shane Duffy. Furthermore, Hanley has been described as both ‘Captain Colossus’ & ‘Captain Calamity’, a hearty & committed defender, but prone to making the occasional mistake. A description that echoes the ability of recently departed, Dan Burn. A player that I personally adored, but often split opinion amongst the Fulham faithful. Then again, football is a strange game with some players completely changing their style of play and form at different clubs or under new managers, so while it’s wrong to judge a player before playing in a Fulham shirt, the early signs of this deal provide no guarantees that Hanley would be the answer to our defensive prayers.
In other news, Fulham starlet Emerson Hyndman has been linked with a move to join up with Brendan Rodgers and Patrick Roberts at Celtic. While some may see this as a sideways move for the American, the opportunity to play Champions League football at his age would be priceless. The young midfielder, would be able to play on the biggest footballing platform to showcase his ability to the world. A player that will be missed at Fulham and will join the list of players some fans wished they could have kept over the years.
Maarten Stekelenburg is reportedly in discussions over a permanent move to Southampton, with the Premier League club keen to keep the Dutchman as a back up to Fraser Forster. Reports suggest that a £750,000 transfer could happen, but the move would depend on the wage demands of the goalkeeper who is amongst the highest earners at Fulham. A decent shot stopper on his day, but sadly a victim of the managerial merry go round and chaos that happened in the relegation season.
There has been action outside of the playing staff, with coach Stuart Gray interviewing for the vacant managerial role at Rotherham United. Reports state that the former Sheffield Wednesday boss met with the Rotherham board, but has been unsuccessful in trying to secure the job with Tony Mowbray amongst the favourites to the land the role. Personally, if Stuart Gray did depart for a managerial role, I would wish him all the best. He arguably built the foundation for Sheffield Wednesday to become what they are today and although his time at Fulham is hard to judge, as we rarely see what happens on the training ground, there would be no hard feelings should he want to become a head coach again.
Thank you ever so much for reading – Please feel free to contact me on Twitter @ABronsSmith