Deadline day. Wow. What a headache. But it’s finally over, and Fulham are one of the big winners in the Premier League along with Liverpool, QPR, and Arsenal. Everton and Tottenham are the big losers today, with Everton the unfortunate victim of highway robbery, and unable to find the money to replace them. Here are a summary of the deals that happened, and the ones rumored to be in the mix but failed to materialize:
FULHAM’S COMPLETED DEALS:
Bryan Ruiz with his new manager after signing his transfer to Fulham
Bryan Ruiz, FC Twente: £10.6 million, 4 year deal.
The club hasn’t confirmed it just yet, but it’s done. In fact, FC Twente’s site has confirmed the deal but does not give a length of deal or amount of transfer fee. I’m sure it will be up on Fulham’s site in just a bit. For now, we can revel in the fact that we beat out Newcastle in a down-to-the-wire transfer that gave everyone here basically a heart attack. Yesterday it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Ruiz was going to play at Craven Cottage, but when Alan Pardew made a last ditch effort, it gave everyone a scare. However, Martin Jol was able to claim victory in the end, as the helicopter Pardew deployed to Motspur Park was unsuccessful. If you’d like to follow Ruiz on Twitter, it’s pretty certain that his Twitter page is here, and in his own words:
“Hello, greetings… I want to share with those who have supported me that I have just signed for Fulham in England and I’m very satisfied, it’s a triumph”
From the FC Twente website:
“His playing has led to much interest from foreign clubs. Bryan has always had the ambition of a major European league to play and now is the time he makes the transition to the Premier League. Bryan was not for us to maintain. We wish Bryan good luck and happiness in his future football career.”
Update: Fulham have officially confirmed the signing of Bryan Ruiz! It’s a 4 year deal with the option for a 5th.
Update 2: Here’s the official story on the Fulham website that just came out. In it, he says:
“I’m really happy to be joining Fulham Football Club and playing under Martin Jol who is a manager I admire from his time managing in Holland for Ajax. I chose to come to Fulham because it feels more personal than other clubs I have visited. I’m looking forward to meeting up with the whole squad when most of the players return from the international break and getting to work straight away with the team in preparation for some important fixtures.”
Orlando Sa, Porto: Undisclosed fee, 3 year deal.
This one was a very last minute deal, however the story on Orlando Sa’s official website says the two sides have been quietly talking about this one for a few weeks. Props to them for keeping it under wraps. I don’t know this for sure, but from the sound of things it seems like a relatively low risk deal. That’s good, because Sa is very untested. Overall, he has played just 54 professional club matches (Only 12 for his 2 parent clubs Braga and Porto, the rest for loan clubs Maria Fonte and Nacional), and has 11 professional goals. He also has 1 senior national cap for the Portugese national team, and 7 caps for the U-21 Portugese team (in which he’s netted 7 goals, including a hat trick against Spain). The 23 year old striker will most likely come off the bench in the beginning for Fulham, however you may see him in a few starts in the Europa League. The important thing here is depth and youth, and he brings both. I’m actually very excited to see what Sa can bring to the table.
Zdenek Grygera, Juventus: Free transfer, 1 year deal.
Grygera was the first signing to be confirmed today. He was released by Juventus yesterday, with all signs pointing towards him coming to Fulham. That didn’t change today, and he gives the Cottagers depth at the back. Fulham also kept Chris Baird around, so the right back position is pretty set. I have heard iffy things from Juventus fans about Grygera, but he’s a solid backup at this point, and has the versatility to play any back position. Good signing, especially on a free transfer. The contract has an option for a second year.
Given that our first match isn’t for another 11 days, I’m excited to see how a week and a half of international break/training will get these guys ready for their new role on this club.
DEALS THAT WERE CAST ASTRAY:
Alan Hutton, Newcastle: £4 million bid.
Most reports had Hutton going to Aston Villa, with Sky Sports reporting he was having a medical there, when all of a sudden a few things started popping up on Twitter about how Fulham had made an offer and he was strongly considering it. However, in the end, Hutton did go to Aston Villa. I heard a lot of Fulham fans saying he would be an absolute upgrade from Chris Baird at right back. That’s saying a lot considering how much Fulham fans love Baird. It’s a shame we missed out, but we’re fine at the back for now.
André-Pierre Gignac, Marseille: Loan deal.
This one also was something that seemed like a certainty yesterday. However, mainly due to the fact that Marseille were a complete fail in the transfer market, he was pulled back and didn’t end up going anywhere. A lot of reports said he had baggage with him, but I didn’t care so long as he brought goalscoring ability to Craven Cottage. It’s a non-factor, however, since Fulham got Sa instead. Good luck to Gignac in France, and who knows what can happen in the future.
Derek Boateng, Dnipro: Loan deal.
Boateng had just gone to Dnipro in the beginning of the summer, so only a loan deal would be allowed, but the deal was thought to have an option to buy later that would almost certainly be activated. However, the two sides failed to come to an agreement, and the deal was cast aside. This was thought to be a backup plan incase Ruiz didn’t pan out, since Boateng is naturally an attacking midfielder, not a true striker.
FULHAM PLAYERS SOLD:
Rafik Halliche, Swansea: Loan deal.
Halliche was on his way out for sure, as Jol had named him about a week ago as one player he was hoping to send on his way. No news yet on the details of the loan and if there is an option to buy, but if I’m a betting man I say there is, and he won’t be back in a Fulham shirt.
FULHAM PLAYERS RUMORED TO LEAVE BUT STAYED:
Some have told me via Twitter that the biggest move by Fulham on Deadline Day was not a move at all, rather it was a holding. Clint Dempsey was rumored to be sought after by Sevilla, PSG, and most recently Arsenal. But all clubs denied having made a bid, and nothing came of it on the final day of the window. This is great news for Fulham fans and a great job by the front office to realize Dempsey’s most valuable location was on the pitch in white. The combination of Ruiz, Zamora, AJ, Duff, and Dempsey all in the attacking half, possibly even supported by Sa, gives me goose bumps. So excited to see what this combination of guys can do.
Many thought after the signing of Grygera and then the rumors about Hutton meant Baird was on his way out. He’s found himself on the outside of most of Martin Jol’s lineups, although recently he’s gotten a chance to showcase his talents. This is more good news for Fulham fans, as Baird is a valuable asset not just on the pitch but on the depth chart as well.
It’s silly to even have to include him in this section. He wasn’t going anywhere.
So, anyone care to take a gander on where Fulham goes from here? Where do Ruiz and Sa fit in? How about Grygera? Does Baird go back to the bench? My thoughts are that Ruiz will start at winger (his natural position) opposite Duff and supporting AJ and Zamora for a few matches and we’ll go from there, see how it goes. If the offense is still stagnant, Jol may try putting Ruiz up front with Bobby. It will be a lot of fun to watch these new guys, that’s for sure.
One more signing note, Hammy End is reporting Fulham have signed 16 year old Swedish striker Muamer Tankovic to the developmental squad. Good luck to the kid!
Russ and I will be trying to figure out when our next Cottage Talk episode will be, but it’s going to be soon, so stay tuned. I’m going to try and drum up a guest or two.