Before this season Fulham were hot favourites to take the Championship by storm and finally get back to the Premier League where they belong. It hasn’t quite panned out that way, however, with the club currently sitting in mid-table and not looking likely to push for top 6 this season.
Seemingly Fulham have been found out with their exciting brand of possession football being easy to stop as teams now know what to expect. The defence looks prone to at least two huge mistakes per game meaning Fulham have conceded at a similar rate to last season where every supporter could see that the underlying issue was in defence, Tomas Kalas has been half the player he was last season and David Button still isn’t good enough in net. Fortunately, the club hold the key to their promotion and a lot of people may not like what the answer is.
The Key To Getting Fulham Out Of The Championship Is To Sell Tom Cairney And Ryan Sessegnon In The Same Window.
It sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? The way to get promoted is to sell your best player and the most exciting young prospect in the country. But by selling them both it would give Fulham the funds needed to go out and buy a squad full of players able to get them over the line. The sky is the limit on how much Fulham receive for Ryan Sessegnon but for me the minimum Fulham should accept is £40 million in today’s market. As for Cairney Fulham rejected a £20 million pound bid this summer so they should be looking for a similar figure again. Giving the club £60 million to spend in one window.
Fulham showed ambition in the transfer window on deadline day this season, putting in bids for; Jota, Dwight Gayle and Fernando Forrestieri. Unfortunately, none of those deals came off but if the sales of Sessegnon and Cairney are made early in the window it gives the club more time to negotiate.
Do we trust Fulham to spend £60 million in one window wisely? It is something we will find out next month. After the departure of “Stat man” Craig Kline, it will be interesting to see how business is done in January. Will Jokanovic have a say? Or will it be down to Tony Khan? Only time will tell.
Who Should Come In?
So how should the hypothetical budget be spent? First port of call is to get a replacement for Tom Cairney at a fraction of the price and the answer may very well be to go back for a man who was almost signed this summer, Jota.
Undoubtedly Jota has fantastic talent if you look at what he did at Brentford even Fulham fans agreed that he was probably the second-best player in the league behind Cairney. With Birmingham seemingly on their way down Jota would be available for a similar price to what they got him for at around £6 million. He hasn’t found anything resembling form whilst at The Blues but he would suit Fulham’s system a lot more and he is clearly a player the club are keen on.
Dependant on whether or not Birmingham are relegated I don’t think the raid should end there. Che Adams is another player that Fulham bid for in the summer but didn’t manage to land. A very gifted young talent would be a fantastic addition to the squad either up top or on the wing. If Birmingham go down would they be able to reject an approach at around £7 million? I think not. Adams would be a shrewd signing and as he is only 21 his value will only increase in years to come.
A new goalkeeper would be at the top of many Fulham fans wish lists as David Button’s distribution has become increasingly frustrating. A new goalkeeper is an obvious choice for me, a player who is fantastic at this level but is currently second choice in the Premier League; Karl Darlow. Darlow has made only four appearances in the league this season and Newcastle’s second choice should be available for between 4 and 6 million pounds. Darlow played 34 times in The Championship last season conceding just 32 and keeping 13 clean sheets. A fantastic record and a bargain signing.
Another position that needs addressing is left back. Since the departure of Scott Malone Ryan Sessegnon has been playing there and in this hypothetical scenario, Sessegnon has been sold so a replacement is needed. Fulham were in for both Joe Bennett and Maxime Poundje this summer so don’t be surprised to see the club go back in for them. Rafa Soares seems like a complete waste of time so it would be time to look for someone new. A gret option would be Tyrone Mings from Bournemouth, he is versatile as he can play in the middle as well as on the left and he would be available for roundabout £8 million.
Centre back is another role that needs filling. Signing Tomas Kalas on a permanent deal would be imperative and that would set the club back around £8 million I believe as Chelsea wouldn’t be keen to sell. What Kalas needs is a tall imposing partner and with that in mind I think Aden Flint would be perfect. Flint has actually outscored any Fulham player this season as he is a great target in the box for set-pieces. Alongside that, however, he has a solid defensive acumen. Flint wouldn’t come cheap however and it would take a fee of around £10 million to sign him from Bristol City after the season he has had.
These signings would leave Fulham with £13 million left to spend. That money needs to go on a goalscorer. Aboubakar Kamara is a very hot and cold player but he does have potential so he would stay in the squad. However, it does seem like Rui Fonte is a lost cause so a striker is needed. A proven Chanpionship goalscorer is what is needed and a bid did go in for Dwight Gayle in the summer, but it isn’t likely that £13 million would secure his services at this moment in time. A player to look at would be Matej Vydra, a striker who flourished under Jokanovic at Watford could do the same if he came to Fulham to play under the Serb again. He would set the club back around £10 million. Two other options would be Jordan Rhodes and Aleksander Mitrovic. Mitrovic has only played 153 minutes in the Premier League this season and it would take a bid of around £13 million to get him from Newcastle. A very talented player who has a temper, he would be a risk but it may very well pay off. Jordan Rhodes has hit the worst goalscoring form of his career however a move to Fulham may reignite the Scottish international and he would be available for around £8 million.
The Potential Lineup
A Fulham team given a budget of £60 million could look like this. For me, this is a team that not only gains promotion from this division but wins the title. Is selling Cairney and Sessegnon the way to go if Fulham are to gain promotion? Who would you sign with a budget of £60 million. Tweet me @CharlieJones141 or discuss at http://www.friendsoffulham.com/forum/index.php?board=1.0