All quiet at Fulham but not quite time to panic

This summer at Motspur Park has been vastly comparable to a DFS Sale as opposed to the expected shopping spree that would logically follow Martin Jol's belief that Fulham can progress from last season's ninth place finish. We've witnessed the departures of Andrew Johnson, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora while the futures of Clint Dempsey, Moussa Dembele and Dickson Etuhu seem unpredictable at the very least.

The Dempsey situation, for what it's worth, seems unsalvageable. Even though he's called for Champions League football and despite the fact he wanted to play at the very highest level, the American seems to have settled for a move to Liverpool. That move would, undoubtedly, increase his wages and probably increase his profile but the question does have to be asked - is it really a step up? The league table would tell you no. Only goal difference separated us last season. There must just be something in the Scouse air that our 23 goal man finds particularly appealing.


Dembele may well stay. The club have taken a quite definitive stance on the matter, suggesting, in response to claims from the player's agent that Real Madrid have ‘been in contact', that he will be going nowhere and no-one has made a bid. If there is even a morsel of truth in the rumours that surround our Belgian star, however, then you can only cross your fingers.


If the worst situation did arise, it is quite clear we'd find ourselves in a state of disarray. Without the loss of our quite indispensable duo, we already find ourselves with a squad depleted. Cover for Murphy must be found but you have to feel it is becoming increasingly difficult. Our former captain was a man of incredible vision and technical aptitude and he carried with him an air of experience and influence rarely seen these days. And Jol, in his quest for a youthful Fulham side, will almost definitely seek to find his replacement in the younger end of the market. Can someone really be found that can match Murphy for what he did for the team? You have to wonder.

Perhaps I'm just getting ahead of myself, though. 29 days of the window still remain and that is ample opportunity to bring in some much needed quality and depth. Jol, last time around, left his biggest spend until the final day, lavishing an unknown-but-presumed-vast amount on the mercurial talent that is Bryan Ruiz. That gamble has yet to pay off but the signs in pre-season are at least promising.


Of course, Hugo Rodallega, Mladen Petric and Sacha Reither have already teamed up with their new FFC team-mates and a penny has yet to be spent. Rodallega is no golden boot winner but we all know of his talents while Petric, in what we've seen of him so far at least, looks sharp and battle-hardened. Right back Reither has yet to make a huge impression but he has still to put a foot wrong.

There is no doubt that they aren't enough though. Jol has done a sterling job in clearing the deadwood - something which, in all honesty, has been required since Hodgson left. Johnson will not be widely missed. He had moments to suggest he was back to his clinical self but they never surmounted to anything great. Pogrebnyak was, in terms of what he is now earning at Reading, not worth the fuss and Murphy was an all-round unfortunate loss. Even Jol had to admit the shame in losing his captain, even if this coming campaign was to be the one in which his on-field time began to dwindle.

More signings are required - at least another striker and a replacement for Murphy - and, although it now appears unlikely, having one of them in place by the time our season gets going at home to Norwich would help with proceedings.


As it is, though, movement at Fulham is slow and it's become somewhat of a trait. Our medicals are stringent, our negotiations deep. At one point, Pavel Pogrebnyak claimed that the FFC medical team had checked over every finger on his hand. Perhaps he's exaggerated but there's probably some truth in it too.

We're not quite at panic stations yet but, as fans, it'd be nice to see something just around the corner. And, please, don't let it be another departure.

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