In honor of the ridiculous flurry of players Fulham have been linked with, I’ve decided to do a special post. I was looking at Twitter today and I thought to myself, “boy, you could make a whole team with these guys!” So, guess what……..I DID. I’m sure this will get amended as the window continues, but as of now these are the biggest names involved with the club out of the gates. Some are probably legitimate and others are ridiculous, but they all count the same here! So without further ado…
Here’s the Starting XI for the “ALL SUMMER 2012 FULHAM TRANSFER WINDOW” Team:
Goalkeeper: Paul Robinson
You know it’s a crazy transfer window when we get linked with a goalkeeper these days. Fulham are certainly not short on talent at this position already, with Mark Schwarzer in the running for captain and David Stockdale a fan favorite and up-and-coming talent sure to be the Aussie’s successor if he sticks around. But, for whatever reason, Fulham are being linked with relegated Paul Robinson, who is leaving Blackburn since Ewood Park won’t be the site of any Premier League matches this season. He was originally linked with a move to Besiktas since their keeper is retiring. But according to a bunch of journalists, he’s also being tracked by Fulham, for reasons I can’t begin to explain. Oh well, we’ll see.
Fulham are certainly in the market for a right-back, but have been linked with men who play on both sides of the goalkeeper in the past month or so. There have been links with Newcastle star Danny Simpson, and our very own guest poster Nick said here that he could be a top choice to fill the right-back hole that Martin Jol is currently looking to plug. He would be a top choice, and I think many Fulham fans would agree. He’s 25 still, and in the prime of his career, something that ultimately could doom Fulham in their pursuit of Simpson. He very well could be had by some of the top clubs in the league, and especially where Newcastle finished in the league last season, he would want to move up, not down the table.
There have also been connections between Fulham and mowhawked left-back Alexander Buttner from Vitesse Arnham. Even younger at a ripe 23, the Dutchman is an intriguing but also a bit of a head-scratching selection by Martin Jol if true. Fulham already have John Arne Riise and Matthew Briggs to hold down the left back position, so to add another to the mix would seem at first glance excessive. However, with Buttner being only 23, and Riise getting on in age, he could be a good bench player and injury depth. Briggs is even younger, but Buttner could prove useful not just next year, but down the road as well.
Sivok has been linked to Craven Cottage many times in the last month or so in a move that I find to be very similar to the Buttner train of thought. The two starting center backs are two of the best, and maybe one of the Premier League’s best pairings, but between those two Hughes and Hangeland, they’re getting old (see a common theme? now you know why Jol wants to get younger). Senderos is 27, but again, Jol is looking for depth here, and I don’t blame him. Sivok also would come on a free, since Besiktas hasn’t chosen to resign him.
Bayern Leverkusen’s Michal Kadlec, who usually plays on the left but is also very capable in the middle, is said by Dutch press to be close to agreeing to a deal with Fulham and may have a medical in the coming days if the rumor is true. The 27 year old Czech made headlines a little while ago. You may remember, especially now with all the news about goal-line technology being adapted, Kadlec headed a ball off the line against Poland in Euro 2012 that beat Petr Cech, and the ball appeared to hit the inside of the post but it wasn’t called a goal.
With Danny Murphy gone, the midfield is a bit of an issue. Steve Sidwell and Mahamodou Diarra are both very capable of being regulars, but once again (sound like a broken record?) Sidwell is 29 and Diarra is 31. You can’t expect them to hold down the fort an entire season. Plus, Sidwell’s coming off a hernia injury that kept him out most of the second half of last season, so knocks are always a worry. In addition, Moussa Dembele is going to leave sooner or later. All this adds up to a definite need.
Tom Huddlestone would be a wonderful addition, and Martin Jol has once again been linked to his former club to fill a need. He’s an excellent passer of the football, plus and he’s been deemed somewhat of excess at White Hart Lane. Also, he’s 25, so he’s got plenty of years ahead of him, as well as being in his prime. He has one year left on his contract with Spurs, a big reason why new boss Andre Villas-Boas may consider cashing in on him now. If Jol were able to pull this off, I would expect Huddlestone to step into the starting lineup pretty quickly. However, a lot depends on what AVB has in store for his new club, and as always when dealing with a club with a new manager, this may take time as AVB first needs to put together a plan for how he intends to move forward, who is necessary, and who is extra weight. I wouldn’t expect anything in the immediate future on this front.
Tongo Hamed Doumbia is a defensive midfielder who plays for Rennes in the French Ligue 1. I haven’t seen his name pop up too much, but he’s been mentioned in the occasional tweet or random blog article. Nothing concrete has been written on this link but with the aforementioned need for true midfielders, landing the 22 year old French and Ivorian would be a great way for Jol to fill a need and boost the younger ranks. He’s quite inexperienced, but in his three years with Rennes he’s vastly improved in every season, so a move up would be solid, and at £2-£2.5 million he’s a cheaper option as well. If anyone knows more about Doumbia, good or bad, feel free to post it. I’ve seen rumors on Twitter from French bloggers that he’s headed for a Premier League club, but the identity of the club is unknown.
With Bryan Ruiz, who many think should play centrally behind the striker(s), and the 33 year old Damien Duff (who’s been answering questions about retirement recently, if that doesn’t speak to his age I don’t know what does) the only viable wingers on the club, save maybe Clint Dempsey who’s not a guarantee to be with Fulham next season (and almost a guarantee NOT to be with the club past January) it’s clear why Martin Jol would want to add to the winger ranks.
Eljero Elia’s name has been saturating my Twitter feed in the past 48 hours, and it seems a lot of Fulham fans, bloggers, etc are tracking his movement. The Juventus 25 year old has handed in a transfer request after a rocky season in Italy, where he played just 4 matches with the Serie A champions. Even though he’s only 25, he’s played in the Eredivisie, Bundesliga, and Serie A, making him quite experienced for his age. Word around Twitter is that it’s between Werder Bremen and Fulham, with Juventus looking to completely unload Elia but Bremen only willing to take him on loan. It’s also been said that he’s agreed to terms with Bremen and only the clubs’ discussions are holding things up. So we’ll see what happens. He’s certainly been tweeting a lot of cryptic stuff in the past few days.
A winger who’s a lot of people think is on the cusp of big things is Nacer Chadli. His name has been next to Fulham’s for a while now, dating back to last January. He was even quoted with saying he would love to come to Fulham, with special thanks to fellow Belgian Moussa Dembele:
“I want a new challenge, and England would be the most attractive. Fulham? That’s a nice club. Look how Dembele has developed in the past two years. That has been a good step for him because now Manchester United and Chelsea ask about him and I hope to take the same step as Moussa.”
Does that mean Chadli might use Fulham as a stepping stone? Probably. But I don’t care, as long as we can get a few good seasons out of him, it would work out in our favor either way. He netted six times last year and assisted six more, so he would be a great addition to the wings at Craven Cottage. Keep an eye out on this one.
Wolverhampton are looking to cash in on Steven Fletcher after their relegation to the championship, and word is Fulham are interested, along with Sunderland and Stoke. However, Wolves decided to slap a nice £10 million price tag, which in my opinion would be more than enough to price Martin Jol and Alistair Mackintosh right out of competition. Of course, I’m not privy to the financial dealings of the club, but that sounds like a lot more than I’d want to pay for Fletcher, despite being just 25. However, he did score 12 goals last season on a club that provided him little support, so he would be a promising addition.
Burak Yilmaz appears to be an option that’s dwindiling somewhat, as the rumors on him have all but gone quiet since it was whispered he was more than likely headed to Lazio. However, I haven’t seen or heard anything to say he’s signed with a particular club yet, so it’s probably still possible. It would be a great addition to an already thin strike unit. You can read up more on Yilmaz’s situation here in a post I wrote up a few days ago outlining the possibilities.
Here are some players who I either think the rumor is so ridiculous it’s not going to happen (such as in Kalou’s case) or they’re players who not much has been reported, or the rumor is pretty much dead.
According to this story, made an injury about Salomon Kalou, but I can’t see anything happening, mainly because his wage demands would most likely be well be out of Jol and Mackintosh’s range. He’s 26 and deemed excess at Stamford Bridge, and I’d be thrilled to be wrong here, but yea, not happening.
Rumors are abound about Sascha Riether coming to Fulham on loan from Cologne. The loan deal would apparently have an option to buy at the end, possibly keeping the 29 year old defensive midfielder at Craven Cottage long term.
One rumor that somewhat excites me is that of Danish striker Nicklas Helenius. Just 21 years old, the big center forward scored 14 goals and assisted 8 more last season with Aalborg BK in the Danish Superligaen. He stands at 6’4″ (195 cm) and would be a young force up front. Plus he’d come relatively cheap. His agent confirmed there are English clubs interested. I like this option!
A few stories here and there have said Real Madrid youth castout Juanfran Moreno is looking for a new home. He’s made 100 sides for the B team despite being just 23 but just 1 for the top side and has decided to move elsewhere to secure first team football.
I only placed Aaaron Ramsey in the bench spot because that rumor, despite being a fun one, is all but dead. Apparently Wenger said no to even a loan deal.
Another option for Jol at center back is Federico Fazio. Someone on Twitter alerted me to this and apparently it has legs, at least a little. The 25 year old Argentinian played his way from the second team into the first team at Sevilla. During his youth career, Fazio was part of an Argentinian U-20 side that won both the 2007 World Cup for the age group and the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.