A day in which Fulham had the opportunity to not only add a Golden Boot winner, but shore up every one of their deficiencies on the pitch ended with dead deal after dead deal.
First, let’s start with the positive. It’s a hell of a positive. Fulham got Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United, linking the frontman with former boss at Tottenham Martin Jol. The beauty of the move isn’t only that it’s Dimitar Berbatov (check on that death stare!) but the fact that the monetary figures which Alistair Mackintosh prodded out of United and Berbatov are stunning. Fulham paid just £4.5 million to United for a man who was bought a few years ago by United for over £30 million. Not only that, but they’re paying the Bulgarian under half of what he was making at Old Trafford. He made over £110,000 a week under Sir Alex Ferguson, but will be making under £50,000 at Fulham (not the over £100,000 that was reported).
Fulham also brought in Kieran Richardson, the versatile Sunderland rock on the left who will likely be a decent squad player. Their final signing was Ashkan Dejagah, a winger from Wolfsburg who has a beaut of a cross on from his right foot.
Now for the negative. Fulham were confirmed to be in serious discussions with the following players or their respective teams:
Derek Boateng, Chris David, Michel Bastos, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Wilson Palacios, and Tom Huddlestone.
Not a single one happened.
Obviously there are going to be rumors for lots of players, and not all of them are true, but Fulham were definitely in for all those players. There was an obvious need for a center midfielder or two, and despite all those options, none of them happened. Dnipro wanted an extra million for Boateng, so Fulham cut negotiations. Michel Bastos was looked to be a done deal, and it never materialized for reasons we will never know. Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam were both offered as part of a Dempsey deal but neither ended up here (Henderson said no to a season loan and Fulham rejected Adam). Odijdja apparently was a done deal except for a paperwork mixup (don’t even get me started on how unacceptable that is), and he went to Everton. Twente confirmed David had signed for Fulham early in the day, but Fulham never confirmed it and in the end there was nothing, who knows what happened.
And with that, the fanbase panics without a midfield. It’s true, the midfield is a thin piece of paper at the moment. Diarra, Sidwell, and new signing Kieran Richardson are basically it, with Ruiz filling the attacking midfield role. And with Ruiz often hurt, it’s a bit bleak in the creativity department. It’s not the end of the world, but it will certainly be a precarious few months until the transfer window in January.
The departure of Mousa Dembele the day before and the confirmation that Clint Dempsey has finally closed the book on his saga has obviously furthered the problem. More on Clint here in the coming days.
So on a day which offered so much promise, Fulham are left treading water until the next window. Not the way they wanted to welcome a Golden Boot.