It's been a very strange couple of days for me. As many of you know, along with being a Fulham supporter, I'm also a Seattle Sounders Season Ticket Member. Fulham is my favorite team, but Seattle is my home town club and the one I get to see in person. Which made the news and the entire twitter circus around the signing of Clint Dempsey very awkward for me. Clint Dempsey was my favorite US player. He's one of the main reasons I started supporting Fulham. But the way he left the club left a bad taste in my mouth. Enough that I retired my USA Dempsey shirt to back up duty, and sold my Fulham Dempsey Shirt. Now I'm in a position of cheering for him again. I'm sure other Fulham supporters had much different reactions than mine. Namely, he probably should never have left and this proves it. For me though, this is the first time when supporting two different clubs has conflicted. Since this is only tangentially related to Fulham, I think enough has been said and we can move on.
Best I can tell, the rumors about Adel Taarabt started on a QPR message board. Normally that's not the kind of rumor I'd but a lot of stock in. However, slightly more reliable sources are reporting it now. Most telling of all is that the betting odds have gone to 1/10 for a move to Fulham. I could get behind this move. Unlike some others I have seen, I think a loan here might be the best option. I would try to structure a loan where Fulham has a purchase agreement at the end of one year. That way if Taarabt acts out or just doesn't fit in, it's easy to wash your hands of him. To sweeten the pot for QPR, I'd also put in language that lets him return to QPR if they are promoted by paying a fee back to Fulham. My biggest worry about Taarbat is that he's more of a Bryan Ruiz than a Moussa Dembele. I don't know if he can play the deeper creative role that Fulham so desperately lack.
The Darren Bent saga continues to drag on. So much so, that there are real questions whether anyone wants him at all. Fulham have upped their bid a bit, according to the Daily Mail, but Villa still want more. I question their ability to receive a bigger fee unless Bent is willing to take quite a bit of a pay cut. Sky Sports seems to think this is pretty likely to get done, this time with the odds of 4/11. I didn't really believe this rumor in the beginning, but it's starting to take on an air of inevitability.
In sadder news, Chris Baird seems set to sign with QPR. I know that he didn't have a place at Fulham anymore, and I know this is probably good for his career; but it's still sad to see him go. Baird is the kind of guy you always like to have on your team. He's willing to do anything and play anywhere without complaining. He knew his limitations and never tried to do more than he was capable of. Seeing him in a QPR shirt would hurt a little bit. Lucky for me, I can't watch League Championship games in the US.
To balance the sad, here's something good. Sascha Reither is getting some love. I completely agree with everything in that article and it's always been confusing to me that he isn't thought of higher. To my eyes there were only a few right backs who had better seasons than Reither last year. The fact that he was signed for only £1.3M is astounding to me.
If you are interested in Fulham's youth players, you really need to read this excellent piece over at HammyEnd.com. I admit I'm always getting suckered into the allure of young prospects. But with Fulham, I'm 5000 miles away. That makes it very hard to follow their development. Other than match reports and occasional mentions on twitter, I don't know much about any of them. Reading this got me all hyped up for the future.
Staying with the youth squad; Ryan Williams has been loaned out to League 2 side Oxford United. The loan itself isn't surprising. Fulham have unbelievable depth on the wings and even getting playing time on the U-21 squad is going to be difficult. The only thing that struck me was that it was a League 2 side. I would have thought he would have been good enough to get playing time in League 1 and would have hoped he could have had playing time in the Championship. Perhaps he's not as close to contributing as I previously thought.
Finally, if you haven't listened to the interview with Shahid Kahn on Cottage Talk, do it now. It was very informative and made me super excited for the future of the club.