The end of the season has been horrendous for Fulham Football Club, as they have lost five matches in a row, which also includes four at Craven Cottage. Fulham should be safe from relegation for another season, but the fear that the club could get relegated next season has already begun on social media. I feel these fears are extremely premature as Fulham have many decisions to make that could actually improve the team moving forward.
First, there are several factors that have brought us to this disappointing season for Fulham that can be fixed this summer. I only have to go back to the end of the summer transfer window to see one of the causes of Fulham's bad season, and that would be losing your two best players at the end of the window. When Fulham sold Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey at the end of the window, they did not have enough time to properly replace these players.
January was not time to replace your two best players, and hopefully this summer, Fulham will find a replacement for the 23 goals lost from the departure of Dempsey, and also bring in a creative central midfielder to fill the void of Dembele. I am not expecting Fulham to find the same level of player, but it is not out the realm to think Fulham manager Martin Jol cannot find young quality players that someday can fill those roles.
The end of the season issues can also be attributed to the injury loss of Ashkan Dejagah. This midfield player was really starting to build something special on the right side with right back Sascha Riether. I don't think it is a coincidence that Fulham's scoring opportunities have gone down since the loss of Dejagah.
Another loss has to be Steve Sidwell with his two red cards late in the season. Say what you want about Sidwell, but when he has played, he has been incredibly effective in central midfield. He does the dirty work in the middle of the pitch, and he has been missed.
Fulham will have Dejagah and Sidwell back next season so moving forward those are two pluses to look at. Again, hopefully the manager will be able to add pieces to the puzzle this summer to fix the holes that were left at the end of last summer.
Second, Jol has an opportunity to re-shape Fulham because there are several players that are out of contract, and several other that are on loan. There will be tough decisions for Jol to decide who stays and ultimately who goes, but he should have the chance to finally build the club he wants.
Third, as stated earlier, Jol should have the opportunity to add players to the squad this summer. Only time will tell, how much money Jol will have to spend, but there is a need for players, and that has to be filled one way or another. You know new faces are coming to Fulham this summer. How about waiting to see who these new players are before worrying about next season?
Fourth, Fulham's Academy looks like it is building future talent that could be used for the first team in the next few seasons. I am not suggesting that Fulham need to go to a youth movement like Aston Villa did this season. I am saying that there could be some players that could possibly be ready to add some depth to the overall roster.
Kerim Frei and Alex Kacaniklic have broken through to play with the club, but they are not depended on yet to be full time starters. They have been eased into the process, and they continue to improve. It is not a crazy thought to think that players like Jack Grimmer, Cauley Woodrow, Mesca, and Chris David, could get a chance soon to play with Fulham.
No one at this point knows what the long term effects of Financial Fair Play will have on the Barclay's Premier League, but building up the Academy is a way to not just depend on finding players through the Transfer Window. If you can supplement your team with both, that happy medium could be a huge help in the future of Fulham.
The fears of being relegated I feel are lessened because of the Academy, and those players could play a role with Fulham. Even if Fulham were to go down one season, the Academy players could really help in the process of getting Fulham right back up.
In concluding, I am not fearful of what the summer could bring Fulham, because I feel it is an opportunity to change over an older squad, while possibly upgrading at several key positions. I think what people are fearing is change and it can be scary, but it also can be rewarding.
I have stated this before that future is in the hands of the management of Fulham, the manager, and the players. This summer we should get a very good indication if Fulham are building for the future. Regardless, I think I have presented several reasons why the sky is not falling for Fulham Football Club.