Martin Jol is certainly looking to make his mark on the Fulham squad patrolling Craven Cottage next year during his first full summer transfer window with the club. His first step is to allow three players, Andy Johnson, Pavel Pogrebnyak, and the captain Danny Murphy to leave.
You could make valid arguments for letting go all three of those players. AJ was old and injured often, and hadn’t contributed much compared to what was expected of him after making a highly-touted move to Fulham. Pogrebnyak was a force upon entering Craven Cottage, but faded down the stretch as teams figured out how to remove him from a game. Danny Murphy is 35 years old, and was becoming less and less capable of making it a full 90 minutes.
However, put these three moves together, couple them with the fact that Fulham are still not out of the hot water when it comes to Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele, and this roster needs some serious overhaul this summer. While there are some very capable youth ranks who could step in and make an impact (most notably I would expect Alex Kacaniklic to see serious playing time in place of Danny Murphy, although he’s more of an attacking mid), they’re young and untested, and entrusting a youth squad with filling this many holes is very unwise.
I don’t doubt that Martin Jol has a plan, but whatever it is, all we the fans have been privy to watch is the exodus that could quite easily become even worse if the Dempsey and Dembele situations worsen.
In addition, the men he’s allowing to leave are significant contributors from last year. Between those three men, Jol is allowing 68 appearances, 12 goals, and 10 assists from just this past season go. And that doesn’t count the possible departure of more production: the 73 appearances, 19 goals, and 10 assists courtesy of Dempsey and Dembele.
And it’s not just what he’s letting go. It’s when they’re coming out. The news broke that these three men were leaving just five days apart. It’s a bit of a shock to Fulham fans, who now see their club completely barren at the striker position (Ruiz/Dempsey/Dembele their best goal threats now, none of which are true strikers; best true strikers at the moment are Orlando Sa and Marcello Trotta) as well as without their constant at midfield.
So how are you feeling after the shock? Were these the right decisions? Are you glad they’re all gone at once? If anything, it sure does open up some great wage room.