Köln/Cologne right-back Sascha Riether has signed a season-long loan deal with Fulham, with an option to buy at the end of the season. He was quoted with the following coach-speak drivel that I am obligated to give you because the official website deems it relevant when in reality it’s probably recycled for every single signing:
“I feel very pleased to have signed. It feels like I’ve had a long break from football and for me this is a new experience in a new country. Fulham is a good club, a big club with a big tradition and for me it’s great to be here. I played here one time with Wolfsburg and I remember Craven Cottage being a great stadium with great fans, and I hope I can go on to have a great season here.”
That means nothing. What does mean something is that Riether fills an immediate need for Fulham, as reportedly Martin Jol made a few attempts at a number of right backs before selecting the 29 year old German.
Riether played for Wolfsburg during Fulham’s Europa League run under Roy Hodgson, making him the fourth player who faced Fulham in the that run to be brought to Craven Cottage in the last year, following John Arne Riise (Roma), Zdenek Grygera (Juventus) and Mladen Petric (Hamburg). Hey, if you can’t beat em, join em!
After four seasons at Wolfsburg, in which he won the Bundesliga in 08/09 and qualified for the next year’s Champions League, he went to Cologne, who were relegated last season. He’s also been capped for the German national team twice, plus 20 appearances for the U21 team a while ago.
Although he’s talked about as a right-back, he’s also proficient as a defensive midfielder, where he played with Wolfsburg. This is another position of need for Fulham, so you may see Riether move around to some different locations depending on other signings later in the window.
While Riether isn’t exactly the perfect target in terms of getting younger, at 29 he’s not old by any means, and certainly could provide Fulham with at least a year, if not more, of solid right-back play at a position desperately needed.