The January Window is open! Let’s hope Fulham can find a couple of gems to enhance our chances of staying in the Premier League. There have been a small handful rumours over the past month or so linking players to Fulham. Luke Sargeant and Dylan Chavasse take a closer look at seven players from the gossip column in our first transfer rumours roundup of the window…
THE VIEWS OF LUKE SARGEANT:
The Algerian midfielder has had a turbulent time to say the least recently. After a successful loan spell with German side Schalke 04 was made permanent in 2017, he was then banished to the reserves for disciplinary issues last season, before being loaned to Newcastle United in January. Upon his return he played in the first 7 league matches for the Bundesliga side before being cast out again as Schalke failed to record a victory (they are still winless without Bentaleb). He was unspectacular in his spell on Tyneside, but did feature in all but three of The Magpie’s fixtures after joining. A highly rated defensive midfielder while developing at Tottenham Hotspur, Bentaleb added an eye for goal in Gelsenkirchen, scoring 7 in 44 appearances in his loan spell and then 8 in 34 during the 18/19 season. However, he left Spurs after falling out with Mauricio Pochettino, and having now fallen foul of his employers in Germany, he represents a risk that isn’t worth taking when you consider the abundance of midfield quality currently at Craven Cottage. Such is the depth at Scott Parker’s disposal, the likes of Stefan Johansen, Jean Michel Seri, Kevin McDonald and perhaps most surprisingly Josh Onomah, didn’t even make the initial 25-man Premier League Squad. Harrison Reed and Mario Lemina have proven more than capable of performing the holding role in this Fulham team, and he is highly unlikely to displace the ever-impressive Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Equally, despite contributing goals to Schalke’s cause, he is not a natural attacking midfielder. There doesn’t appear to be a need for a player of this profile right now, and even if there was, Bentaleb’s recent disciplinary issues, coupled with a loan that didn’t move Steve Bruce to activate an option to buy, it would appear that there are better options out there.
Worthwhile Rating – 3/10
A little over a year ago Mathias Normann was being linked with a move to Manchester United. He failed to make an appearance for Brighton, after joining in 2017, but during his two seasons under contract on the south coast, turned out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde. Ultimately the links didn’t lead to a transfer and Normann remained at FC Rostov, where he has been since January of last year. Much like the aforementioned Bentaleb, the Norwegian midfielder possesses the attributes that would usually make him an attractive proposition for The Whites. A good range of passing, a willingness to tackle, and strong in possession. But these are not attributes missing from the current Cottagers line up. Midfield is not an area bereft of quality at Craven Cottage, certainly not in the deeper roles. Scott Parker’s midfield is well settled and well drilled. They know their responsibilities and rarely leave the back line over exposed. Acclimating a new midfielder into the system is not something that is entirely necessary at present, and the time and resources could be better spent in other areas of the team.
Worthwhile Rating – 4/10
Jorge Fernandes joined Vitoria de Guimares in the summer for a reported £720,000 having failed to register a senior appearance for Porto. A talented ball-playing centre-back, Fernandes has impressed at his new employers, who have only conceded five goals in his nine appearances so far this season. At just 23-years old, he would have potential sell-on value, but his current club are already thought to be demanding £16million for any deal. Parker and his staff have worked tirelessly to organise the current backline for Fulham, and to good effect, turning around the performances that saw us concede three goals or more in each of the first three league fixtures of the current campaign. That has been achieved through utilising entirely new personnel to that which saw The Whites promoted at Wembley. Adding a new defender could represent a calculated risk. Due to the uncertainty over Terence Kongolo’s recovery from injury and lack of confidence in the clubs other central defenders, a further option may not go amiss. Fernandes is still relatively unproven, but he is performing well in side that has made a habit of keeping clean sheets, six in 11 league matches. If the questions remain over Kongolo’s ability to contribute, then a new defender would be a smart move, but the purported fee involved probably rules out a move for Fernandes at this time. It is unlikely that Vitoria will be willing to negotiate down while he is having such a positive impact on their results. He is also linked with Southampton, who have recently lost Jannick Vestegaard for at least next month, and Newcastle United, meaning any negotiation will be made harder by competition for the Portugal Under-21 international. Fernandes looks like he would be good business for Fulham, particularly with the club not holding an option on impressive loanee Joachim Andersen, but this one looks unlikely. Perhaps the £16million would also be better utilised if it were put towards whatever fee Lyon demand for the Danish defender in the summer.
Worthwhile Rating – 6/10
THE VIEWS OF DYLAN CHAVASSE:
Doughty, 21, is one of the latest prospects to emerge from a prestigious Charlton academy, which has previously produced players such as current Fulham dynamo Ademola Lookman, manager Scott Parker and his brother in-law, ex-loanee Harry Arter. Doughty possesses considerable pace and Charlton assistant manager Johnnie Jackson has made comparisons between the young Englishman and Gareth Bale, who, like Doughty, started out as a left back before pushing up the left-hand side into the wing slot. His technique is improving with time, as shown by a lovely volley scored against Wigan at the back end of last season. He’s wanted by both members of the Scottish duopoly too, so we’d face tough competition to get him, but the Charlton links at the club could prove to be in our favour. He has an expected assists total (if you will) of 7, yet only has 4. Simply, he is creating opportunities that aren’t being put away. He could prove of use to Fulham, but at the time of writing the left-hand side of the team is fairly set and, as per the old wives tale, if it’s not broken- don’t fix it. Going forward this season we’re going to need a well-oiled unit to take into games and needless replacements will hinder that. Additionally, I would have concerns over his lack of top-level experience but of course I’m ready to be proved wrong in that regard. Given our precarious situation we need cool heads who can make the correct decisions under pressure. It’s undeniable he’s a talented footballer, and he could well be an option in the summer, but right now I’m not sure his is a signature we need to be chasing.
Worthwhile Rating – 6/10
Wagner, 23, who previously played for Augsburg and Schalke in the Bundesliga has been in fine form this season. He has plied his trade in Philadelphia since 2019, and so far this season has 1 goal in 14 games from the left back spot. Fulham and West Ham are believed to be the two teams intent on battling it out for his signature. Personally, I don’t believe this is a signing we need to make. Antonee Robinson has made the left-back spot his own, and in Joe Bryan we have some first-rate cover in case of injury. For me, signing Wagner would just be adding strain onto a packed wage bill, and Robinson has done more than enough to earn a starting berth heading into the second half of the season.
Worthwhile Rating – 5/10
Dembélé, 24, currently plays in League 1 for Peterborough United, after a spell at Grimsby Town, who signed him from the Nike Football Academy following an impressive trial. Dembélé, older brother of Celtic prospect Karamoko, is equally skilled on both feet and whilst he plays on the left in 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations, prefers playing as a striker in a 4-4-2 formation. Dembélé is renowned amongst Posh fans for his speed, ability to take opponents on and bring other teammates into play. Although small in stature at 5ft 8, he possesses great strength and has great composure when through on goal. Dembélé has 5 goals and 4 assists from 17 appearances this season. He is rumoured to be wanted by Celtic as well, who are looking to bounce back from a rough start to the Scottish Premier League season. Personally, I think our situation dictates we should be looking to sign an out and out striker with a proven record at the top end of the footballing pyramid. Should Dembélé be bought in alongside someone of that calibre, I don’t think I’d have too many qualms. He should come relatively cheaply (around 4-5m) and will come with hunger and a point to prove.
Worthwhile Rating – 6.5/10
Tufan, 25, is a Turkish international who plays as a holding midfielder for Fenerbahce. He is also capable of playing as a right back and a right winger. In 13 Super Lig appearances this season, Tufan has found the back of the net 4 times. He also has a decent return for the Turkish national team, scoring 7 times in 53 caps, including one on his debut. Tufan’s main attributes are his strength, tackling and shooting. Although on the face of it he seems talented, he’s not someone that needs to be bought in. The club feels as if it is overflowing with decent central midfield options. Aside from the goalscoring, I don’t think Tufan offers anything in particular that we don’t already have with Anguissa. It seems a pretty non-sensical move to me, but then again the best teams always have plenty of strength in depth.
Worthwhile Rating – 5/10