In the past 24 hours it has been confirmed by multiple news outlets that Stefano Okaka may be returning to Craven Cottage 8 years after his first loan spell.
There is a serious interest from Fulham however, there is a stumbling block that may force The Whites to look elsewhere. Watford are asking for a £2m loan fee for Okaka.
£2m for a 6 month loan seems very steep although, it is a risk that may pay off if the Italian forward can fire Fulham to the Premier League. Fulham are currently only 5 points away from 2nd place in The Championship.
They are also the 2nd highest scorers in the league trailing only Wolves however goals from their strikers have been hard to come by. Aboubakar Kamara has hit good form recently however his goal tally stands at only seven for the season. Summer signing Rui Fonte has fared even worse scoring only three during this campaign.
It is clear to see why Fulham want to bolster their attack as Wednesday’s deadline approaches. Will Fulham pay £2m to have a striker for 6 months? If history is anything to go by then yes. In January 2012 Fulham paid £4m to sign Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak on a 6 month contract. Pogrebnyak had a great half season at Fulham but moved to Reading when his contract was up in the summer.
Stefano Okaka has played for Fulham before in 2010 he joined on loan playing 11 games and scoring twice.
Fulham captain Tom Cairney is set to leave The Whites during the January transfer window joining London rivals West Ham United. A £15 million bid was rejected earlier this week by The Cottagers however a revised bid including add ons is thought to have been accepted.
Cairney is one of the most talented midfielders in the championship and is definitely cut out for Premier League football. The arrival of Cairney at West Ham however could pave the way for the departure of Manuel Lanzini.
Fulham have seemingly already set their targets on Cairney’s replacement. As I reported on twitter earlier this week Fulham have made contact with Rubin Kazan over the transfer of Ex Blackburn Rovers midfielder Ruben Rochina.
It is thought that Rochina would be a direct replacement for the departing captain adopting the same attacking midfield role.
Rochina always looked a talent in the Premier League during his time with Blackburn Rovers. The 26 year-old looks set for a return to England after leaving the Lancashire side in 2014. Rochina scored his first ever Premier League goal against Fulham in a 1-1 draw most remembered for the debut of Bryan Ruiz.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have just been beaten narrowly by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game; being denied the opportunity reach the Super Bowl for the first time in their history.
The Jags shouldn’t be disheartened by the result though as a Super Bowl is in sight within the next couple of years if they can keep the core group of players together.
The Jaguars have seen a lot of success as of late due to huge investment from owner Shahid Khan. The same man who owns Fulham F.C.
Since his $770 million takeover of the Florida franchise in 2011, The Jags have gone from being the worst team in the NFL to serious contenders. With their star players such as Blake Bortles and Calais Campbell earning just under $20 million a year. Khan hasn’t been shy of putting his money into the squad.
Khan hasn’t been as generous during his time as Fulham owner. Spending money sporadically with certain big investments such as Kostas Mitroglou backfiring after a £12 million outlay.
By all accounts Khan is a lot more focussed on getting The Jaguars Super Bowl success than he is getting Fulham back to the Premier League. Handing over day to day running if the club to his son Tony who is quite a controversial figure amongst Fulham fans.
So how does success in the US bode well for Fulham on the banks of the Thames? If Khan tastes success at the Jags in the next couple of years he may want to do the same at Fulham.
If Khan can see what he is able to do if he puts money into a sports franchise he may want to taste similar success in the other kind of football. Shahid Khan is worth a reported $8.5 billion dollars making him the seventh richest football club owner in England, above the likes of The Glazers and John. W. Henry.
He pays the highest earner at the Jacksonville Jaguars around $365,000 a week according to http://www.sportrac.com whereas Fulham’s highest earner is apparently Tom Cairney earning £35,000 a week according to reports. Which comes to around $48,000 over 7.5 times less than Blake Bortles earns in the NFL. So if Khan put in to Fulham a fraction of what he puts into The Jags The Whites would be able to steamroll The Championship in a similar fashion to Wolves this season.
Of course financial fair play would be an obstacle, however due to it being a three year process of calculating financial outlays one year of big investment in The Championship would get Fulham into the Premier League where TV deals and sponsorships almost make FFP something you don’t need to worry about. That is if Fulham don’t get promoted this campaign.
I will always remember Khan saying in his first interview on Sky Sports News that he wanted to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City with Fulham and the taste of success with The Jaguars may be the motivation he needs to make this a reality at Fulham. Rather than just palming off responsibilities to his son, he may take the reigns at Fulham and inject some of his billions into making Fulham a top team in England.
Carlos Tevez has returned to Boca Juniors after earning over £32 million whilst playing for Shanghai Shenua. His time in China is the latest in the long list of controversies surrounding Tevez.
Fulham are set to secure the signature of Matthew Targett on a six-month loan deal later this week.
It was no secret that Fulham were pursuing Dwight Gayle over the summer but the deal fell through after Newcastle were unable to sign a replacement in time.