Well, I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t expect Fulham to be unbeaten at the end of August.
But after collecting eleven points from the opening month of the season, Fulham find themselves in 2nd place in the Championship, after Tom Cairney secured an extra-time winner against his former club, Blackburn.
Once again, Fulham looked like a much more organised side under Slavisa Jokanovic and despite making many changes to the starting eleven for the Middlesbrough game, the style remained the same. It’s clear that Slavisa is working with the players he wants and can finally put his stamp on the club. This season we’ve seen the side line up as a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 which is a big change to recent years, where Fulham favoured formations with two forwards to maximise the qualities that former talisman, Ross McCormack possessed. But, although McCormack and Dembele have moved on, Fulham have invested into the side, creating a much more balanced team, rather than relying on the front two to win games.
There will be activity in the remaining 48 hours of the transfer window at Fulham, with the club heavily linked with moves for Derby County forward, Chris Martin & Oostende’s Cyriac. Martin would be a sensible transfer, with the Derby target man a proven goal scorer in this division. With Slav focusing on a system with a lone forward, Martin could tick all the boxes.
Although we have Matt Smith in the squad, Martin’s quality would make him the starting forward, and with his link up play feeding the likes of Kebano, Ayite, Cairney & Aluko, Fulham would easily replace the goal pressure created from Ross & Moussa’s departure.
Belgian press continues to link Oostende forward, Cyriac with a move to Fulham with the player liking/sharing content related to Fulham on his social media accounts. This has been a transfer that has been discussed for the past fortnight and one that I’d expect to go through. Cyriac’s arrival would provide an alternate option up front, with the player naturally playing on the last-man to try and turn and get behind. If Fulham could secure Martin & Cyriac before the deadline, then Fulham could start thinking about a top 6 finish this season – Something that is crazy to think considering the last two seasons at Craven Cottage.
In other transfer news, talks are reportedly set to continue over a deal for Eibar forward, Sergi Enrich but nothing has been agreed yet. Some Spanish outlets were suggesting a £4m transfer for the striker, but recent reports suggest that the club’s valuations are miles apart. Sergi’s transfer could be something as a backup should the attempts to sign Martin fail in the remaining hours of the window. Personally, I’d like the Martin and Cyriac transfers to come through, as they would be the final pieces of the jigsaw in my eyes.
There were rumours suggesting that Asamoah Gyan could join the club last week, but the Ghanaian captain was destined to joined Reading. Although he is a striker that got me a bit excited when hearing the rumours, the reported £4m loan package, seems very costly for just one season. Just to put that into comparison, Reading paid a similar bundle for Matej Vydra last season (2.5m loan fee & wages) and he didn’t feature as often as some fans would have hoped for. It later emerged this afternoon that Gyan failed a medical, which is probably pleasing to hear from a Fulham perspective, as if he was coming to the Cottage, he wouldn’t have been an immediate solution, which could have harmed us more than it helped.
More recently, Fulham’s Larnell Cole has played a trial game for Charlton U23’s which would indicate that he is the next player that will leave the club. Although, he showed some promise under Rene Meulensteen, it’s clear that Larnell’s progress has stalled and a new club awaits him. A shame considering Ryan Tunnicliffe has become a first-teamer and they both joined at the same time, with some Man United fans claiming Cole to be more likely to succeed at Fulham.
This afternoon, Fulham have been linked with a move for Ole Solnaes from St.Etienne, with Danish journalists reporting that a £10m bid had been rejected for the central midfielder. Interesting that another central midfielder was linked with a move, which could suggest that we may see alternate midfielder drafted in on deadline too – along with another striker!
With deals edging closer for Cyriac and Martin, they are the main two deals I foresee for Fulham on deadline day. But, should there be any late twists on the final day, I’m sure you’ll see Fulham splashing the cash even more to ensure Slavisa Jokanovic has the players he requires for the rest of the season.
Sadly, it seems that Richard Stearman could return to Wolves on deadline day, with a move for the defender edging closer according to reports. I would be gutted if he did go, it seems that he is a big hit in the dressing room and another leader to have around the squad – which is vital.
It should be an exciting day tomorrow for the club, hopefully two new players…maybe more!
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My next column will be featured in the matchday programme against Birmingham City.