Martin Jol’s first signing of the 2012 summer transfer window has been completed. The club confirmed that Mladen Petrić has signed on a free transfer after being released by Hamburg.
Having seen Andy Johnson, and Pavel Pogrebnyak leave the Cottage this offseason, Jol is looking to bolster the strike corps, and he was able to recruit the 31-year old.
Despite his age, which interestingly goes against Martin Jol’s obvious attempts to get the club younger, Petrić has an impressive goal-scoring record with all his former clubs, which really excites me. He netted 38 times in 98 matches for Hamburg, 13 times in 29 appearances for Borussia Dortmond before that, and 38 times in just 72 matches for Basel before that.
The goal Fulham fans are most familar with is the laser of a free kick he scored at Craven Cottage in the Europa League tie a few seasons ago. Fulham could really use a good free kick taker, and Petrić definitely brings that.
Petrić also has history with Martin Jol, as Jol was the manager of Hamburg from 2008-2009 when Petrić first signed for the club. In fact, that season Petrić scored more goals (12) than he would in any of the next three with the Bundesliga club. He also follows suit with Fulham fair play, having received 16 total cards (15 yellow, 1 red) in his entire 9 year career in top-flight football.
Another positive about this deal is that it’s only a 1-year contract. Any more would have been excessive, as not only is he 31, but he averaged just 25.6 matches a year in his five seasons in the Bundesliga, and has never reached 30 appearances in a season.
Petrić also has 44 caps to his name with Croatia, including having scored the winner in a 3-2 victory at Wembley against England in a Euro 2008 qualifier.
But Jol isn’t looking for durability from Petrić. This deal is all about depth and goalscoring, which the Croatian certainly brings to the Cottage. Jol will continue to get the squad younger, but bringing in Petrić can only add to the options Jol will have come the opening match of the season.
After signing, he had the following to say:
I like the Premier League and it has always been one of my wishes to come here. I played with Hamburg against the Club two years ago in the Europa League. It was very nice to play at Craven Cottage with a fantastic crowd and I have enjoyed a good relationship with every member of the club I have met since. I’m very happy to be part of what is happening at Fulham. The club is doing very well and that was why I decided to come here. I know the manager well and I know that he is always looking to strengthen his attacking options and I hope that we can do even better next season.
For more statistics and general info on Petrić, here is his Transfermarkt page