Once again I have no inside information. I'm making educated guesses based on age, skill, and what I know about contracts. I'm combining that with my heart just a little bit. If there were two players on the bubble and I'm a bigger fan of one, they're getting the nod. I'm not sure Felix Magath has the same heart that I do however.
Is there anyone who doubts he's coming back? He's already proven he can be the number one goal keeper for a Championship club getting promoted. He is a pretty good shot stopper. He might not be the best at organizing a defense, though in his defense he was dealing with veterans who might not have accepted his leadership. His distribution isn't great, but it's not so awful he can't succeed in the Premier League. Stockdale is the kind of player that will be good in Championship and can stick around if and when the team comes back up.
Before this year I wasn't a huge fan of Richardson. I wasn't sold on him as a left back. I wasn't sure he would ever be healthy. This year started out with some poor performances at left back and him getting hurt. But he came back fit and had a very good year when he was moved up the pitch. He can play on the left side of a diamond. He can play as the left winger in a 4-3-3 a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-4-2. That's a useful piece to have. He has a few years left on his deal so the club would have to sell him for him to move on. I think he's definitely a player the club should try to keep.
He's another building block for the future that is also probably ready right now. He's proven he's a top Championship center back already. He's still young and developing. He's a player that you can plug into the first team next season and bring back up with you. He's one of the most important pieces going forward.
I think this pick is going to one of the more controversial. There are a lot of Fulham fans who don't like him at all. He's also one of the higher priced players I expect to stay. You could try to sell him, but I doubt a Spanish club will match the kind of salary he's on now. He's also fairly versatile. He can play as a center back in a four or three man back line. He can also play as a left back. These are reasons to keep him. If Fulham get promoted, it's one less player you have to replace when you come back up. If they fail to get promoted you can try to move him on or buy him out when you owe him less money.
This may come as a shock, but I don't think he's going anywhere. He signed a multi-year contract when coming over. He definitely got a raise over what he made in Switzerland. He didn't play enough or well enough to attract attention from anyone. For those reasons, I think Fulham are stuck with him. That being said he's not a bad player to have in the Championship. He can backup three positions and he didn't embarrass himself as a right back. He's going to be very overpaid, but that's what Khan's wallet and the parachute payments are for.
If I'm wrong about a player staying, it's likely to be about him. I think he would do well in the Championship and that playing a good season there and helping Fulham come back would be great for his career. However, he might think he's better than that. I know there would be interest in him from clubs in other leagues (specifically Italy). If the club can keep him, I think he'll be important going forward.
Tunnicliffe could be a very important player next season. It seems Fulham have never recovered after losing Danny Murphy and Moussa Dembele. Tunnicliffe has the talent to be a mainstay in the center of the pitch for a long time. I really hope he gets a shot.
In an ideal world I don't think he'd be back. He started the season very well, but wore down and was a shell in 2014. He's a year older now and the Championship season is even longer. However, he was signed to a multi year deal. Fulham were fighting with QPR to get him last year, so he was already on the Premier League bubble. I can't see any other Premier League club wanting to take a flyer on him. If he can play 20-25 games next year and be a good tutor to someone like Tunnicliffe, I think he'll be worth his salary.
Buomesca Tue Na Bangna
Mesca is an interesting player. He's been hyped a lot. He's still young. He's signed through 2016. But he's only had limited success on loans in League One. Is he ready for the Championship? I'd say no. Perhaps he surprises us, but my guess is he's on loan back to League One next year.
Of the two players that came from Manchester United in the Summer, he was hyped as the more talented. Unfortunately I haven't seen enough of him to form an opinion. If he can be the number one option on the right side, it would be big. The only question is what does Magath think of him?
This is another player that I wouldn't mind leaving. He plays hard and is always running, he just often is running to the wrong spots. He could probably score goals in the Championship, but you can find a lot of guys who do that. The reason I expect him to be back is his salary. Every piece of information I've seen says he's on £70K/week. He's only signed through the end of next year, but he's guaranteed a lot of money. Fulham will have to eat a ton of it to move him on. It probably is better just to pay him and keep him around.
I'm not sure Woodrow's season could have been much better. Getting his first team debut, getting his first goal, getting into the U-20 England Squad. I'm hopping he can build on that and play 30+ games for the first team next year. If he does that and puts in 15+ goals, I'll be a happy camper.
Can he finally break into the first team? His last loan spell in League One was fairly 40 appearances and 13 goals isn't bad at all. Brentford was promoted, and the team would like him permanently. That means at least one club thinks he has Championship quality. This is probably his last chance to make an impact at Fulham. If he doesn't stick with the first team now, he's going to be moved.
Is he ready for the first team? I don't know. What's his position? He's played CDM and right back as well as a center back. I'm hoping he turns into an athletic center back to pair with Dan Burn. I've always loved the idea of a fluid athletic player who's good on the ball paired with a giant who can win things in the air. I'm not sure if Grimmer will be ready next year, but I can hope.
A player I believe is ready is Chris David. That is if Fulham can keep a hold of him. FC Twente appear ready to pounce, but I'm not sure that's a positive move. He might have more opportunity to play at Fulham, and the Championship isn't a worse league than the Eredivise. If Fulham hold on to him, I expect him to be the main man playing behind the striker.
The club thought highly enough of him to extend his contract. That being said, I still think he needs at least another year on loan. As a wide player, he'll have a ton of competition and getting minutes in League One will be better for his long term development.
He's young. He's raw. But all he does is score. Even when he has a bad game he can put one or two balls in the back of the net. He scored goals for the U21's and U18's this year. He made his first team debut. He's probably not ready to lead the line week in and week out, but I can see him being in the eighteen every week and making a lot of impact as a sub.
Roberts has the highest ceiling of any player on this list. The question is, is he ready? He's the kind of player I could see coming in and having an immediate impact. My only question is his size. He's smaller than players like Juan Mata, David Silva. He's also a little slimmer. Though he's likely to gain strength as he grows, I wonder if he's ready yet?
The final player on my list might be a shock, but I think he has a chance to make an impact. He's a creative central midfielder that the team has been lacking. Like Roberts, the biggest question is his size. Though Hyndman is a bit bigger, he plays in an area where there will be bigger bodies checking him. That being said he's similar in size to a player like Luka Modric who didn't seem to have that much trouble in the Premier League. I'd love to see Hyndman get some first team football next season if only to keep the dream of Fulhamerica alive.
What do you think?
So those are the players that I think might have an impact on the first team next year. Did I miss any? Any of these you think are already out the door? Let me know in the comments.
Next we will be looking at possible transfer targets and depth charts as we try to figure out how this list of parts makes a viable club.