Fulham go a few days without signing anyone then suddenly two players get announced on the same day. Welcome David Button and Scott Malone.
While Malone’s transfer to Fulham has been well documented, the media only started to run the story of Button’s transfer last week. While there are still some questions marks around the upfront fee, some speculate it could be as low as £275,000 while others say it is closer to £1.5m – Whichever upfront number is correct is irrelevant as Button’s transfer will eventually cost £2m, based on performances and other clauses.
Going into the summer transfer window, I was more than happy with Marcus Bettinelli being our number one goalkeeper for another season. Marcus is at a stage in his career where he needs to be playing games, and despite a horrible injury, he has improved his overall goalkeeping – which wasn’t unrecognised as Betts featured for the England U21 side.
But it does seem that David Button will be arriving as the number one goalkeeper at the club, and fans should expect to see him start between sticks on matchday one, but with Button’s extra experience, his arrival could drum up a healthy bit of competition, which in turn could see both goalkeepers develop further.
In all honesty, Button wasn’t a goalkeeper that I had seen play a lot prior to his move to Fulham, but after speaking to several Brentford fans they all seem gutted to lose their number one goalkeeper. Many described Button as the best ‘shot-stopper’ they have ever seen, and while his reflexes may be impressive, many fans have stated that the goalkeeper’s distribution is pretty dire.
With the modern game evolving very quickly, goalkeepers need to become excellent footballers too, with many managers demanding their goalkeepers to act as a sweeper for the back four also. With Bettinelli’s father and Tim Flowers on the coaching staff, there’s no doubts this aspect of Button’s game can be improved.
Despite, Button stating it was an ‘easy decision’ to join Fulham, it must be noted that he was arguably surplus to requirements at local rivals, Brentford. Even though he was their first choice goalkeeper last season, the Bees signed Southend goalkeeper, Dan Bentley who was on the radar of some higher clubs and would not have joined Brentford to be their number two. While, Bentley could prove to be an improvement at Griffin Park, a chance to strengthen our own squad was created by taking advantage of the situation, and being able to have more depth in the side as Fulham look to have a squad worthy of promotion.
On the other hand, Malone’s transfer was well documented due to the fact that Jazz Richards would return to Wales and join Cardiff in return. While Jazz impressed for his national side, his performances at Craven Cottage were incredibly disappointing. Signed by Kit Symons, everyone believed we would be getting a solid defender, but only winning 21 tackles in 22 games last season tells its own story. After seeing some posts from the Cardiff fans, it does seem that Trollope will replicate the formation and system of the Welsh national side next season at Cardiff, so don’t be too surprised if you see a different Jazz return to Craven Cottage when Cardiff take on Fulham next season.
As mentioned in my previous posts, Scott Malone is another mystery signing. A player that isn’t highly recommended by the Cardiff fans, but stats wise has been better than Jazz Richards, and has even scored some pretty special goals – including one against QPR. (Click here to see Malone’s screamer)
Therefore, I wish the best of luck to both the players involved in the swap deal, but hopefully Malone wins over the Fulham fans sooner rather than later as some fans question why a permanent move for James Husband didn’t materialise instead.
Finally, Fulham have released next season’s home kit and while I love the new design, I was surprised to see that Ross McCormack was not involved in the promotional shots.
Considering the Scottish forward is our star player and vice-captain it does raise a lot of question marks around his future for him not to be used in the marketing material on release day. The only conclusion that could be drawn is that the promotional photoshoots were done while Ross was getting married, or his recent injury prevented him from attending the event.
Fingers crossed McCormack stays at the club, but his absence plus Norwich’s growing interest asks more questions than it answers.
Thank you ever so much reading – Please feel free to tweet your thoughts to me @ABronsSmith