We continue our series of Focus Fives transfer rumours by looking at some of the gossip from the last couple of days. Our podcast host Jmac gives his views on stories linking us with Gerard Pique, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Callum Wilson, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Siriki Dembele…
Oh stop it! Well, at least Tony Khan put this rumour to bed last night on Twitter but let’s indulge it one last time. To bid at least £20m on an ageing Gerard Pique is madness. Even halving his wages would make it 150k a week! The ‘Piqued’ puns and the prospect of Shakira singing at the cottage are all good fun but this isn’t a financially sensible transfer. I understand Edwin Van De Sar in 2001 didn’t seem possible either and the Khans like to be glossy with their cash/ambition too. It could have also boosted the clubs following, publicity, shirt sales etc. It’s basically like Chris Jericho to AEW but madder. To have one of ‘the greatest centre-backs of all time’ would be phenomenal history for our club but if he didn’t look premier league survival ready instantly there will be huge frustration with the money spent. Imagine getting relegated with Pique on the books! He wouldn’t have had half the talent he had around him during his glory days at Barca. But look, his passing stats per game are still outrageous and his strengths for ariel duels and blocks aren’t to be sneered at. Pique could thrive in a Top 6 team but I would have worried about his age, speed for this league and his determination to go from the Nou Camp, the Champions League and being La Liga title challengers to come to West London, Craven Cottage, three stands and a likely relegation battle. I’d have eaten my hat if this happened but it was fantastic transfer silly season gossip make no mistake. The hat did look delicious.
If you wanted a centreback for half the wages, younger, has been in the prem more recently, is left-sided/footed and who’s passing is immense then go get Daley Blind from Ajax …and even he’s too expensive!
Forgetting money and TK’s confirmation this would’ve been a 9 or 10 rating for me with his experience, leadership and talent but due to how anti-sustainable it seems financially I’d have to knock it down to 6. It’s a Hollywood signing that could have easily backfired.
Worthwhile Signing – 6/10
This would be a solid Premier League experienced purchase. Abdoulaye Doucoure has that physicality and bite in the central midfield we shall need this year. His tackling success percentage in the Premier League is 58% and he likes to make lots of short passes. But his strength is in his finishing and we will need goals from all areas this season to survive. Last season he played 16 games in an attacking role and 14 as a box to box midfielder. A midfield of Reed, Doucoure, and Onomah/Cairney wouldn’t be a bad broth at all. Ideally, a lot of us would prefer Zambo to stay but if he gets sold his fee would be able to make a solid replacement in Doucoure’s £22m+ asking price. He could add some competition for Josh Onomah and interchange roles with him from switching from an 8 to a 10 during games. Sadly it seems like he’s most likely Everton bound, but he would be one of our most sensible signings if Anguissa leaves.
Worthwhile Rating – 7/10
With three years left on his contract, this won’t be cheap either. Callum Wilson has blown hot and cold the past season, scoring 8 goals and 3 assists in 35 appearances. But he is no doubt a goalscorer in the Premier League judging by previous seasons. But at 28 years old and on top tier wages he won’t come to Fulham to sit on the bench. Unless we go 2 up top I can’t see it happening. There are arguments Wilson’s stats for holding onto the ball and passing are not what we are looking for. I believe we should go for a striker who can also play on the wing and if rumours of Danny Welbeck for £5.5 are to be believed I wouldn’t think twice as he excels in aerial duels, holding onto the ball and defensive contribution in comparison to Wilson. Tony Khan already sounded out the Antonee Robinson bargain. I hope he follows suit with Welbeck. The £30m asking price from Bournemouth for Wilson isn’t worth it for a sub.
Worthwhile Signing – 6/10
Rumours are we‘re trying to get this man on loan from Chelsea with an option to buy. Once dubbed as the next Yaya Toure for his discipline, passing and reading of the game. But his stock has fallen remarkably since joining Chelsea, making loan moves to Milan and his old club Monaco. However, he has a strong record for his aerial duels, intercepting the ball and his passing success from both loans is at 86%. We all want Harrison Reed to make his signing permanent but as a CDM alternative/addition this classic looking anchorman to a midfield 3 wouldn’t be a bad shout in the slightest. If Terence Kongolo joins us this window their old relationship from Monaco could certainly be a strong link to making us as compact as possible this coming season.
Worthwhile Rating – 8/10
Dembele the Third? A centre forward from Peterborough who can also play on the wing, not bad. What Sirkiki Dembele lacks in holding on to the ball he makes up for with his key passing, finishing, and defensive contribution. He’s been mostly a substitute this season, scoring 6 goals in 30 appearances, and there is a huge talent there from the Ivory Coast and Scottish forward. He’s being described as ‘the next Wilfried Zaha’ so you can see the reason why Crystal Palace are keen to get a deal done as well. But when it comes to our goal of surviving this season I’m not sold on his worth to our number one objective. He’s one for the future but we need players ready for a scrap and at 23 years old, a league one diamond in the rough isn’t the answer. I would love to be proved wrong and it’s a similar story for me with the Ivan Toney links. Nottingham Forest are in for him too which is a more likely bet. If we won his signature I imagine he’d be loaned out to the championship fairly quickly.
Worthwhile Rating – 3/10