The transfer window has finally opened for clubs around the continent which marks the return of our transfer rumours series. Here we will be looking through five of the recent transfer rumours to be linked with Fulham.
We are one of many clubs that are set to have a busy window with players like Fabio Carvalho and Jean Michaël Seri needing to be replaced, and many positions require strengthening. This time, Sam Cole focuses on Thomas Strakosha, Neco Williams, Alex Moreno, Al-Musrati and Manor Solomon.
The first player on our list is Albanian shot-stopper, Thomas Strakosha. Sources in Italy have linked us and Valencia to the Lazio keeper with his contract set to expire this summer. A recent Athletic report has thrown this deal into doubt with the goalkeeper position not seen to be a priority, but this doesn’t write a deal off further down the line.
Since coming through the youth ranks at Lazio in 2013, Thomas Strakosha has played over 200 games for the ‘Eagles’ including matches in both the Champions League and Europa League. In this time, he has kept 62 clean sheets as well as winning two Coppa Italias and two Supercoppa Italianas. At International level, similarly to his dad Foto Strakosha, Thomas represents Albania, despite being born and growing up in Greece. Since his debut in 2017 he has earned 19 caps for his national team.
When assessing a keeper, the first thing you should look at is his shot stopping abilities. Last season in Serie A, Strakosha shared goalkeeping responsibilities with Pepe Reina, making 23 appearances. In those games he kept 7 clean sheets with a 67.8% save percentage, the 13th best in the league. To more accurately gauge his shot stopping ability the metric Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed can be used. Last season his value was -0.9 meaning he let in more shots than he was expected to. It should be noted that in seasons where he played over 30 games, his shot stopping was significantly better.
It is important for a modern goalkeeper to have more to them than just shot stopping. Marco Silva demands that his ‘keepers are good on the ball and that would be a fair description of Thomas Strakosha. Last season he completed 82.5% of his passes in the Serie A with Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri wanting his ‘keepers to play it short from goal kicks. However, when going long the 6’3 keeper did excel completing 50.7% of his passes over 40 yards, the third highest in the league.
The main issue with the 27-year-old is his ability coming for crosses. Last season he stopped just 4.9% of crosses which ranks his as the 19th worst in this field. Definitely a cause for concern.
Looking at this deal as a whole, it would appear to be pretty low risk. Despite the high wage demands Strakosha may have, with no transfer fee involved it would allow us to spend big on more important areas. His experience in the top flight is very enticing while his ability on the ball proves that he would fit our system. The obvious draw backs are his average shot stopping and coming for crosses. I am also left wondering whether he is that much of an upgrade on Rodak.
On a free transfer I think Thomas Strakosha would be a decent signing for Fulham.
Sam’s Verdict: 7/10
Neco Williams is a name that Fulham fans are very familiar with. Many sources this summer have linked us to the full-back who spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage. This includes The Athletic, who are famously reliable. The stumbling block with this move could be the price, with Liverpool reportedly holding out for a fee in the region of £15 million.
After breaking into the Liverpool first team at just 18 years old, Neco made 33 appearances for the ‘Reds’ before joining us on loan. His spell was a successful one, making 15 appearances scoring 2 goals and providing 2 assists.
His promise has been recognised at international level too, with the 21-year-old earning 20 caps for Wales, recently helping them to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958.
When looking at strengths, Williams’ are clear to see. He is the epitome of a modern full-back, dynamic going forward with clean ball striking when shooting or crossing. This is shown through him averaging 0.59 goal contributions per 90 last season. For context this is more than both Tom Cairney and Fabio Carvalho who were two of our best creative outlets. In terms of where he needs to improve, his decision making let’s him down at times and there is a need to continue to develop physically, but both of these comes with age.
For £15 million I understand why Fulham would be hesitant but this signing is a must. Williams is already accustomed to the dressing room and under Silva has improved significantly. At 21 he is only going to get better and despite the high fee, will no doubt make a profit if we were to sell in the future. His versatility is also a plus playing on the opposite side of defence for Wales. The question is whether he can make the step up to play regular Premier League football. I see this signing as a no brainer and think he would provide excellent competition for Kenny Tete at right back.
Sam’s Verdict: 9/10
We have to travel to Spain for our next player, specifically Seville. Real Betis left-back Alex Moreno has been heavily linked to Fulham in the past week from various sources in Spain. One source has even stated that we have agreed to meet Betis’ €15 million valuation and are drawing up a 4 year contract.
Alex Moreno is a 29-year-old left back who can also play on the left wing. A product of the famed La Masia, Moreno joined Real Betis in 2019 and has gone on to play over 100 times for the club. Last season he was in fine form helping his side to their highest league finish since 2005 as well as winning the Copa del Ray.
What could we expect from Alex Moreno? It is fair to say that this is a very attacking full back. He has a very high non-penalty goals per 90 with 0.16 which ranks him within the top 6% for fullbacks across Europe’s top 5 leagues. He also averages 2.73 touches in the opposition box per 90. These stats show his tendency to get forward and either shoot at goal or create a chance for a team mate.
Moreno tends to progress the ball is through dribbling. Last season he averaged 1.03 completed dribbles and 6.27 progressive carries per 90mins.
Last season he was also a very active defender, averaging 2.8 tackles per game winning 56% of them. He also averaged 2.44 blocks and 2.76 clearances. In terms of the areas of the game where Moreno is weaker, his crossing definitely stands out. It’s not that he is necessarily bad at it, but he rarely uses it as a method of creating chances. This could be system dependant or just his style of play. He also has a pretty poor passing accuracy, completing just 74.3% of his passes. For context this is less than 2% above Antonee Robinson’s and we all know how frustrating he could be at times last season.
Signing Alex Moreno could be very beneficial for Fulham. Despite his age and €15 million price tag decreasing the likelihood of any significant profit, his player profile is like nothing we have at the club. This could give us some variation in how we craft attacks which could give us an advantage in a league where every advantage is crucial.
Despite this not being the first position we need to strengthen I do think an improvement at left back is needed.
Sam’s Verdict: 8/10
In what would be a Premier League first, Fulham are reportedly close to the signing of Libyan international Al-Musrati. Sources in Portugal are claiming that talks are currently ongoing with a £13 million fee being quoted. Some have gone as far to claim that a medical for the player has already been completed.
Almoatasembellah Ali Mohamed Al-Musrati or Al-Musrati for short is a 26-year-old midfielder who currently plays his football at Braga. Since joining in 2020, he has played 89 games, filling the gap left by Wolves-bound Joao Palhinha superbly, winning the Taca de Portugal last season in the process. Al-Musrati is a regular in the Libyan national team since making his debut in 2014 with 40 caps.
Looking at Al-Musrati’s player profile, it is clear that he is more of a defensive midfielder. Last season no midfielder in the Primeira Liga regained possession to start an open play sequence more, doing so on 150 occasions. 11 of these ended in a shot. At 6’4 he also wins his fair share of aerial dules averaging 3.34 per 90. He also averaged 2.22 clearances per game which is in the top 9% for midfielders across Europe’s big 5.
Just because he is more defensive minded doesn’t mean that Al-Musrati doesn’t offer a lot in the other elements of the game. Playing in a double pivot at Braga, he has had to become a well-rounded midfielder and he has been pretty successful. He averages 2.32 shot-creating actions per 90 as well as completing 4.26 progressive passes.
Having seen this midfielder on several occasions, I am looking forward to what he could potentially bring to Fulham. With Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa gone, we lack a physical presence in the centre of midfield and this man can fill that gap, especially with the experience he has in a midfield two. He really is a monster of a player who is effective in both boxes.
My reservation with him is whether he can make the step up from the Primeira Liga to the Premier League. For £13 million I think that Al-Musrati would be a good signing and would be excited to see how he adapts to the Premier League.
Sam’s Verdict: 8/10
It is time to talk about the player that Fulham fans thought we had completed the signing of earlier this window. Israeli winger Manor Solomon had received the ‘Here We Go’ treatment from Fabrizio Romano before a few weeks later reporting a deal had collapsed. It was so certain that the ever-reliable source of information, Wikipedia, states that he is a Fulham player who has joined us on a 5 year deal. Despite this move not materialising then, the player is holding out for a Premier League move, and it seems the deal is now back on according to several reports over the weekend.
Manor Solomon is a 22-year-old winger who can also play in attacking midfield. Since joining Shakhtar Donetsk in 2019, Solomon has gone on to play 106 times scoring 22 and assisting 9. These appearances include several appearances in the Champions League where he has scored goals against the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid. Despite his young age he also has plenty of caps for the Israeli national time with 29 appearances and 4 goals.
Not much data is available for this player but having watched him in the Champions League his strengths are clear to see. Manor Solomon’s superb dribbling and pace paired with his confidence can create problems for any side. Last season he averaged 0.52 goals or assists per 90 in the Ukrainian Premier League, a drop on the two previous seasons, which is slightly concerning. His conversion rate is a big area that he will need to improve but he otherwise looks a very well-rounded attacking player.
As much as I love Neeskens Kebano, I feel are in need of an upgrade on the left wing. When Manor Solomon was first linked, people thought he would be a replacement for Fabio Carvalho which wouldn’t be the case. If we could get it done I think it would be a good signing. At 22 years old, he has plenty of room to improve and is likely to yield a profit if sold in the future.
Shakhtar Donetsk have reportedly set a £21 million price tag which could be a stumbling block and there are question marks over whether he will adapt, but I think his performances in the Champions League prove he can. If we can negotiate with his stubborn agent I think this would be a good signing for Fulham.
Sam’s Verdict: 8/10
*Data is via FBREF