The Future is Bright, The Future is Black & White – Cairney Renewal, Djalo & More

Dreams do come true!

Fulham finally announced that club captain, Tom Cairney had signed a new deal today which will keep him at Craven Cottage until 2021, with an option to extend that for a further year.

Personally, I think this will be our best signing this summer, especially after another exceptional season for TC, in which he won Player of the Season. It’s been a terrific twelve months for Cairney as he had taken the role as Captain and lead the side to a top six finish – something many fans didn’t think would happen this time last year!

With Scott Parker announcing his retirement, Cairney stepped into the captaincy role on a full-time basis with Scott being unable to play in every game last season. In doing so, Cairney set the standards for the squad, dominating the stats with a tremendous return of goals and assists, as the club went through another transition after Slavisa Jokanovic arrived. Off the pitch, Cairney continued his success and followed in the footsteps of Scott Parker by becoming the perfect role model for the younger players and aspiring fans.

Cairney’s new deal also puts a stop to the rumours linking him with a move away from the club. After Newcastle’s reported bid of £20m being rejected by the club in January, renewing his contract will only add more value to that price-tag.

Now that Cairney has a long-term deal and has become the captain of the club during his prime years of his career, the future is once again bright and the board look set to deliver on the ambitions of keeping key players at the club.

Furthermore, Fulham have also agreed a new deal for teenage sensation, Ryan Sessegnon and his brother Stephen. A deal that I felt was always more likely than Cairney’s future, with Sessegnon developing at an alarming rate under Slavisa this term. Next season I imagine the young England star will feature more often in a left-midfield role, but with rumours linking Scott Malone with a switch to Huddersfield, maybe he will be asked to fill that role in the back four on a permanent basis. That could well be the option, and something that may appeal to the coaching staff, especially as he could operate on the left-side of a 5 man midfield should Slavisa experiment with 3 centre backs.  But renewing both Sessegnon’s and Cairney’s contracts just proves the club is moving in the right direction and even if we get one more season out of the stars, the renewed contracts will make sure that we will receive a monster transfer fee should they depart the following summer, leaving the club with the funds to find an appropriate replacement or reinvest elsewhere.

Today we were also greeted with the news that Fulham had finally completed the signing of Marcelo Djalo, a central defender from Segunda division side, CD Lugo. While the former Juventus and Real Madrid man may be an unknown quality, it is clear from his debut interview with the club that he will be involved in the first-team, as he hopes to become a permanent figure in Slavisa’s plans. That may change should Fulham make progress with their attempts to sign Chelsea defender, Tomas Kalas but with the demanding amount of fixtures Fulham have to play next season, having strength in depth is paramount to any club’s promotion attempts, so Djalo will be more than welcomed addition this summer.

As tweeted earlier today, I do expect the club to become busy in the next fortnight or so, especially with players departing. With the futures of Richard Stearman, Denis Odoi, Lasse Vigen Christensen, George Williams and even Cauley Woodrow in question, I’d expect to see progress on their departures either permanently or on loan to be arranged before the end of the month. Although, talks regarding a return to Belgium for Odoi have reportedly stalled and he could be at the club for another season, something I’d be very happy with – especially after his impressive contribution this term whenever called upon.

Other than that, Fulham obviously have a mountain to climb in securing new players, especially in the heart of the defence and their search for a leading man upfront. As mentioned before, Tomas Kalas is the key target for the club this summer after impressing at Craven Cottage last season, but we face tough competition from Hull City for his signature. While, Bordeaux forward, Diego Rolan has been reported as a key target for Slavisa Jokanovic this summer, and could be available for as little as €6m with the striker entering the last year of his contract. The longer this story progresses, the more I am getting excited and after having the pleasure watching the Uruguayan hit-man play on a number of occasions last season, I truly believe he has the qualities needed to succeed in the system that has been implemented at the club. After being linked with a €17m move to Everton last summer, it certainly looks like a profitable investment should he be a success in England, and with the forward only being 24 years of age, he matches the scouting criteria perfectly.

But, just like every target, Fulham will face competition and there is reported interest from Turkish Giants, Fenerbahce in the forward. But, just like last summer Fulham can compete with Turkish clubs when it comes to transfer signings after they beat Galatasary to the signing of Stefan Johansen last summer. With Fulham able to offer first team football and the luxury of living in the English capital, Fulham becomes a much stronger proposal despite being in the Championship still and this could be the telling factor in a number of targets, especially Rolan & Kalas.

Finally, I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and continued reading of the content that I have published since starting this blog a number of years ago. I never thought that it would have gained the popularity it has and the feedback you guys/girls have provided on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the club is moving in another direction for the match-day programme this season, and while that means the Craven Corner will not be in the programme, it will be accessible on a number of platforms. Being able to work with the club to publish the programme content has honestly been a dream come true, and I’m sure there will be more collaborations in the future.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support, and let’s hope this will be a summer to remember.

Please feel free to contact me on Twitter – @ABronsSmith and to share this article with your friends, family and fellow fans.

All the best,
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