Eslad Zverotic is the only signing the club made on transfer deadline day. From his description, he sounds like Chris Baird. He's described as a player who can play all back four positions and as a CDM. He's younger than Baird, so that's a plus. As a minus, no one had heard of him before today; so it remains to be seen what kind of quality he has. If you are interested, there's already a highlight package:
In other news, Bill Murphy (@ffc2004) was at Motospur Park and got about 15 minutes to chat with Alistar Mackintosh. He tweeted out a few things, but it was these two I found most telling:
Option to buy Taarabt REGARDLESS of whether QPR come up or not. #FFC— Billy Murphy (@ffc2004) September 2, 2013
Confident of signing Bent on a permanent deal even without the option on the loan deal. #FFC— Billy Murphy (@ffc2004) September 2, 2013
I haven't been the biggest fan of Taarabt so far, but if Fulham do have a purchase option it makes me feel a whole lot better about the deal. It also means that it's more likely for Tarrabt to be motivated for the season. I also liked Bent on loan, and the fact that Fulham think they can keep him if they want to can only be a good thing
The club also have a round up of all the business that they did in the transfer window. Having it all laid out like that makes me feel much better than I did previously. There are nine players listed there, seven of which were not at the club last year. There are also two additions to the academy. Seven players is actually quite a lot of business to get done in one window.
The question reamains are Fulham better than they were at the close of the window last year? I'd say the answer is yes. Stekelenburg is better than Schwarzer. Having Hangeland (even if a year older) paired with Amorebieta is a better combo than any they played last year. Relegating Hughes and Senderos to third and fourth on the depth chart is a plus. Reither shouldn't drop off that much at RB, and the combination of Zverotic and Hughes as backups can't be much worse (if any) than Baird and Manolev. If Kieran Richardson is healthy, he's a better left back than Riise was last year. His health though is a problem. If Riise has to start too many games, that's the one position Fulham could be weaker at. In midfield at the end of the last window, the first choice pairing was Sidwell and Baird with prayers that Diarra would be able to come back. Now it's probably Parker and Boateng or Parker and Sidwell. With the hope that Kasami can play there, or that Diarra makes a comeback. I don't see how anyone can say they aren't better there now. On the wings, you now have Kacaniklic (who is hopefully improved with more playing time) and Taarabt on the left and Dejagah, Duff, Kasami and Ruiz on the right. That's probably better than what we had available last year. The forward options are Bent, Berbatov, Ruiz, and Rodallega. Unless you think Petric was better than Bent, the club as improved there as well. The club also still have players like Mesca, Chris David, and Kerim Frei knocking on the first team door.
Now the question is, can Martin Jol figure out how to use these players? So far, we haven't seen it. He doesn't seem to know what his best eleven are and there are A LOT of duplicated skill sets among the players. We'll know a lot in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, a few players are going to be missing do to call ups. Kasami (Switzerland), Frei (Turkey), Ruiz (Costa Rica), Zverotic (Montenegro), and Kacaniklic (Sweden) all look to miss time. If I were Jol, I'd try to find a best eleven without those players and work to have them well oiled in time for the West Brom match.