Who might Fulham target to avoid a third instant relegation?


In part one of this article ‘Time for Fulham to look ahead as chasing pack falters yet again’, I looked at how Fulham are probably within their right to start looking ahead, with promotion almost a certainty.

Since then, Luton and Sheffield United have lost to QPR and Coventry City, and Huddersfield let a two goal lead slip in the embers of their game at West Bromwich Albion. Blackburn drew at home with Millwall.

It’s time to cast a speculative eye over the domestic football scene and see what low-hanging fruit may be available for Fulham. They obviously cannot spend outlandish sums so may have to focus on areas where clubs are looking to reduce their wage bill as a priority, rather than maximise profit from a transfer fee.

James Tarkowski will be a prime target for wealthy clubs if Burnley are relegated

Burnley have already been pillaged by the Saudis and the superb James Tarkowski will surely find a wealthier club than Fulham. So will Ben Mee.

Norwich have two internationals in their forward line in Kenny McLean and Teemu Pukki, both of whom would give Fulham a whole range of attacking options that don’t revolve around Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Both also provide a very different style to the iconic Serb who has yet to prove himself in the Premier League.

The Canaries’ other stand out Brandon Williams is on loan from Manchester United.

Kieran Dowell is an excellent player but may not fancy another relegation fight as the means to improve his international prospects. Dowell was loaned out by Marco Silva when he was in charge at Everton, but the current Fulham boss knows the player well.

Przemysław Płacheta is EPL quality but as a left winger, it’s probably likely that Marco Silva thinks Neeskens Kebano deserves a decent run at starting in that berth.

Watford – A pick from the Vic?

Emmanuel Dennis and Imran Louza were among the few that weren’t outmatched against Arsenal at Vicarage Road last week. Ismaïla Sarr admirably stayed at Watford on their last relegation.

It’s more doubtful he will again but the likes of Everton and Newcastle would surely be a more attractive destination, with West Ham, despite their season, seemingly needing to add to their squad too.

Most of Fulham’s pickings will be from abroad or quality EPL players who are just at the wrong club, or paired with the wrong manager this year. Newcastle will be offloading players as they buy more.

That may be one source and it is hard to say what the transfer and squad policies will be at Chelsea if Roman Abramovich is forced to sell the club. “You’ll need to take a massive pay cut but you won’t have to move house,” is hardly a persuasive sales pitch.

For the purpose of just chucking names out at this point, the likes of Billy Gilmour, Ethan Ampadu and Michy Batshuayi are all out on loan and seemingly surplus to current first team requirements. If there is a need to cut the wage bill, they will surely be the most expendable unless they are needed as replacements for bigger stars.

Even more optimistically and probably less realistically, on loan Conor Gallagher has already shown he is an EPL quality player, although obviously Crystal Palace have first dibs.

At Newcastle, Allan Saint Maximin, Miguel Almirón, Jonjo Shelvey, Fabian Schär and Callum Wilson seem to be the kind of player that the Saudi chequebook can improve upon, if they continue to evade the human rights scrutiny that has engulfed Chelsea.

Then there are the players who already played for Marco Silva at Everton such as Fabian Delph who has just six Everton appearances this year and Moise Kean, currently loaned out to Juventus. Delph played 20 games for Silva in his season at Goodison. Cenk Tosun, Michael Keane and Seamus Coleman have all contributed little positive to the Toffees’ awful season.

Yerry Mina has made just ten appearances in the league for Everton this season, but played 27 times in the top flight for Silva during his time there.

Tom Davies has played just five times this year for Everton but became the club’s youngest ever captain under Silva. There are a clutch of other players who Silva regularly selected such as Bernard, Theo Walcott, Djibril Sidibé and Alex Iwobi, who he may still rate too.

A great deal depends on whether Everton manager Frank Lampard believes these are the men to reverse his club’s fortunes.

I can’t argue of course that they will all be available but there is certainly an argument that they would all be an improvement.

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