Focus Fives: Best EFL Transfer Options

Fulham’s transfer business with fellow Premier League clubs and those outside of England may be closed until January, but there are still a couple of days left to go shopping for players at clubs in the EFL…

Our podcast host, John Maccormick (Jmac) has chosen five players he would like Fulham to sign from the Championship to bolster our attacking options.


Before we get on to my five suggestions, its probably best to explain my admission of Josh King and Saïd Benrahma from my top five. King is heavily linked with West Ham right now, his wages would be far too much for a club that could likely go back down and although it may seem boring, the reality is that we need to respect FFP and the implications it could have if we were to throw large sums at players who are currently playing in the Championship. I can’t see King wanting to play second fiddle to Mitrović unless we changed our system and went for a 532 formation. King has stated publicly that he favours the number 9 role, he won’t get it as a starter for us unless we go two up top. Granted, he can also play on the left wing but we have that box ticked with Ademola Lookman. We need to play everyone in their best position if there’s a chance of survival and the glaring holes in our current squad come as a backup for Mitro and a right sided wide man with end product. For similar reasons I’ve opted against Benrahma. The Brentford man is unproven at Prem level and whilst some of my five picks also lack that experience, the overinflated price we would have to pay to win the race for Benrahma’s signature just can’t be justified, especially as he’s also a left winger which isn’t a necessity right now.

My five picks may not be the obvious choices in some cases but they represent acknowledgment of our current situation and match the more cautious approach we’ve taken so far in this window…

 

Jed Wallace

Image: Millwall FC

This might underwhelm some people but hear me out. Jed Wallace is a natural right-sided winger who likes to cut inside but can also cross the ball accurately, an attribute which gets the best out of Mitro as Kenny Tete has proved on a couple of occasions. We arguably aren’t in a position to be picking the likely candidates of Benrahma and Josh King, especially sitting on 0 points out of 4 games and I think The Millwall no.7 might be a realistic and decent signing for us. If he’s ready for the step up to the Premier League, like Jared Bowen did for West Ham last season is another question entirely. But he’s already scored 2 goals this season in the Championship and made 10 goals with 12 assists last season which isn’t bad at all. It’s more than Cavaleiro, Knockaert, Kamara, Kebano and Bobby Reid managed which means at the very least he’s an upgrade on the end product that they provide? At 26 years old with 2 years left on his contract we could do much worse for a creative winger to supply Mitro. And he’d be a fantastic asset for a promotion push if we fail to deliver safety this season.

Worthwhile Signing – 7/10


EMILIANO BUENDIA

Image: Rex Features

This is the one. He’s been linked to Fenerbahce and Athletico Madrid this summer – for good reason. Buendia created the 4th most chances than any other player in the Premier League last season and excels in nearly every department as a right-sided winger. His passing accuracy and key passing stats are not to be ignored. But his defensive contributions to The Canaries has been fantastic also, something that could get Parker to crave the Argentinian’s services. Out of every EFL potential signing, this would please Fulham fans the most. For me, he’s a huge piece of the puzzle to get goals back into this side. However, it won’t be cheap. I just hope that Todibo cash is still around somewhere (and the rest!).

Worthwhile Signing – 9/10


ADAM ARMSTRONG

Image: Blackburn Rovers

Adam Armstrong is an interesting prospect. The 23 year old has already scored 5 goals in 4 appearances for Blackburn this season and is a key man for them right now, so this won’t be an easy deal to pull off, especially if Karlan Grant is on his way to The Baggies. Nevertheless, Armstrong would be a great back up and protege to Mitro but what’s more is he can play on either wing too. Armstrong contributes to a fair few goal scoring opportunities for his team as well as scoring himself. He scored 16 goals last season and made 6 assists, which is only three goals less than Grant converted and double Tom Cairney’s tally from 2019/20 (TC was our second highest scorer after Mitrović). He’s only 23 years old and has a young Danny Ings-ish vibe. Similarly to Jed Wallace, we need a signing who can improve and provide us with quality in either division we end up in next season and this is it.

Worthwhile Signing – 7/10


DAVID BROOKS

Image: Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth via Getty

This is a popular name being floated around right now. The Welsh international is 23 years old and plays as a right-sided winger but can be creative in a more central role too. His stock is quite high due to recent interest from Manchester United. He scored one goal in 9 appearances last season and bagged 7 goals with 5 assists the year before. To get him we’d have to pay £22m+ which goes against the approach i’m suggesting we should take. I’ve brought him up to highlight that despite being arguably the Hollywood signing of what’s available in the EFL, I don’t think he’s what we need for our situation. There’s undoubted talent in him but we need someone with a stronger recent record of goals and assists to get points on the board and signing players for outrageous fees at this stage of a window, screams of nothing more than desperation. I guess this should be titled Focus Fours – plus one on this occasion!

Worthwhile Signing – 5/10


TROY DEENEY

Image: Sky Sports

If Mitrovic gets injured long term this season, I don’t care what anyone says – we’re done. For too long we’ve put all of our eggs in his basket and not had the insurance of a backup option. We need another striker who knows where the back of the net is in the Premier League and one who isn’t likely heading to West Ham or West Brom. I’d pick Troy Deeney over Josh King everyday of the week, he’s 32 years old and possibly wouldn’t mind taking intermittent time as our starting striker. He hasn’t appeared for Watford at all this season yet, so he’s certainly on the move somewhere. His contract expires in less than a year and we could easily get another Tony Khan bargain here which seems to be the trend so far in this window. 10 goals and 2 assists last season in 27 appearances along with being a huge leader and motivator on the pitch is ideal for a fight to stay up this season. Come to London Troy! (Watford isn’t part of London)…

Worthwhile Signing – 8/10