We continue our mini-series focussing on some of the players linked with moves to Fulham in recent days. This time, Josh Walford, Jmac and Sam Cole take a closer look at Ola Aina, Jack Butland, Harry Wilson, Martin Hinteregger and Ademola Lookman…
The views of Josh Walford (@joshwalford99)
Ola Aina is a 23-year-old Nigerian international who currently plays for Serie A side Torino. The young right back is another product of the Chelsea academy but has made a name for himself in Italy’s topflight. In the 2017/18 season, he had a loan spell with Championship side Hull City where he made 44 appearances. Aina then had a year loan with Torino before joining them on a permanent basis in last year’s summer transfer window.
With the opening fixture against a currently buoyant Arsenal less than one week away, I think every Fulham fan is screaming to get a right back and centre back through the door. As I previously said I think Christie and Odoi deserve huge credit as they have both produced solid performances in the Championship to get us back to the Premier League. However, as proven before the top flight is merciless and unforgiving, if we do not add quality to our backline we will be punished. Aina is a young right back who has impressed in Italy by making 62 appearances in their respective top division. I think he will be a good long-term signing for the club.
Worthwhile Signing – 8/10
Jack Butland is a 27-year-old English goalkeeper currently playing for Stoke City. Butland began his career at Birmingham city, but it was former Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates that spotted his true potential. At 18 years old he had yet to make an appearance for Birmingham despite making his England under 21 debut. He had several loan spells with Cheltenham before joining Stoke City in 2013 for a fee in the region of £3.5 million. Unfortunately, Butland has had a career plagued with loan spells and a lack of consistency, notwithstanding this many people thought he would be England’s No.1 goalkeeper at some point.
At 27 Butland is still young for a goalkeeper and has shown glimpses throughout his career that he could be a top player. Furthermore, he has had nine caps for England and has played in the Premier League with Stoke; giving him experience at the highest level. I think this would be an astute piece of business by Fulham, one he is an experienced goalkeeper who still has the potential to excel once settled, Butland can also offer competition as well as guidance to Marek Rodak. I believe that Rodak was an integral part of us securing promotion last year and deserves his chance as No.1. You would think Signing Butland would point towards the end of the road for Marcus Bettinelli; who has been a good servant to the club.
Worthwhile Signing – 6/10
Harry Wilson is a 23-year-old Welsh international who is one of ten players set to be offloaded by his parent club Liverpool. He is a versatile young player who will preferably play on the right wing but can drift infield to the number 10 role. Wilson was part of the Liverpool youth setup but thus far has failed to break into the starting 11. He really burst onto the scene during a loan spell with Championship side Derby County in the 2018/19 season. Guided by Frank Lampard, Wilson was an important factor in Derby finishing 6th that year.
Wilson is a player known for his extravagant freekicks and flamboyant longshots, but does he possess the quality to be a Premier League player? During his loan spell with Bournemouth last year, the ‘Welsh Wizard’ mustered seven goals and two assists from 31 appearances. Primarily from the right-wing position, I don’t think that is a bad return; especially when you consider he was playing in a team that were struggling all year and ultimately were relegated. He can also boast three goals in 17 games at international level for Wales. I think at 23 he would be a decent signing for Fulham despite us having quite a plethora of options in the wing positions already.
Worthwhile Signing – 7/10
The views of Jmac (@johnmaccorm1ck)
Now we’re talking! This is the sort of signing and calibre of left centre-back we are crying out for. Regardless of no Premier League experience this 6 foot, Austrian international would be a fantastic addition for us and could create an effective blockade alongside Hector against top-flight forwards. He’s left-footed and has mouth-watering stats when it comes to successful tackles, discipline and aerial duels. If a Premier League seasoned defender was not available, the Bundesliga is a great alternative hunting ground for its quality and competitiveness. He’s also scored NINE goals and one assist this season which is remarkable for a defender.
My only concern – Hinteregger is not the passer I had in mind if looking for that faster Tim Ream carbon copy. Passing isn’t his strongest asset: he makes an average of 49.7 passes a match and when it comes to successful passing rate it’s at 75.3% in the Bundesliga. For some perspective, Tim Ream makes 72 passes on average per game and his success rate is at 88.8%. It’s Ream’s bravery and success with passing the ball out of danger which makes him a good balancing act with Hector who likes to lob it to the final third and tackle players head-on. If we were to grab another centre-back now Mawson’s off to Bristol, Andreas Christensen on loan from Chelsea would be great. Hid passing is at 91.4%, an average of 62.2 passes a match and is a strong tackler. He also has received huge praise for Denmark in the Nation’s League last night despite losing 2-0.
But, look, if we pull Martin Hinteregger off it will be our big-money signing and he will no doubt be a starter. Let’s hope his injury last night for Austria doesn’t scupper our plans. We must avoid anymore injured centre-backs! Apparently his ankle is just heavy bruising without any ligament damage, so fingers crossed we can get him for a medical next week.
He would be a brilliant signing and the passing issues don’t bother me too much considering he’s playing under a different system for Frankfurt. His considerable strengths as a central defender outmatch any slight deficiencies of passing accuracy or Premier league experience. He‘s a rock, let’s get him!
Worthwhile Signing – 9/10
The views of Sam Cole (@SamCole2468)
The Beautiful Game Podcast is reporting that sources close to Fulham have told them that the club are in talks to sign RB Leipzig winger Ademola Lookman on a season-long loan.
Ademola Lookman is a 22-year-old winger who plays for RB Leipzig. Lookman came through the ranks at Charlton before moving to Everton in January 2017 for a fee believed to be around £7.5 million. He made 48 appearances for Everton before going on loan to RB Leipzig, joining permanently last summer.
Lookman is a very exciting talent but still has some ironing out to do. His strengths are his pace and dribbling. He is very direct and loves to beat a man. Where he needs to improve is his end product especially when shooting. Lookman is yet to have a prolific year in front of goal and that is holding him back from being a top player. Fulham have a lot of options on the wing with Kebano, Cavaleiro, Knockaert, Kamara and Decordova-Reid. Unfortunately, the only player I see being good enough for the Premier League is Kamara, so I think a winger is a priority. Lookman is Premier League quality.
I think that Ademola Lookman would be a good signing for Fulham due to our lack of quality on the wing. He and Kamara would be very dangerous going forward and could add another dimension going forward. If Parker can work on his end product then he could be a great addition to the team.
Worthwhile Signing – 8/10