So we've had a look at our squad players in my previous article and this international break just doesn't fill the void left in my weekends when Fulham aren't playing, so lets discuss what players we need to get in. With Kit now permanently in place and saying he's looking for someone who can strengthen the squad, we can expect some investment in the January transfer window and possibly a loan or two before that window shuts.
So lets start up the debate, what positions do we need to strengthen, do we need some big name players or stick with the young promising squad we have and maybe add some cover. Perhaps we could just re sign everyone who left under Magath and forget that whole episode ever happened. Let's start by looking at the goalkeeper issue, Betinelli has just come back from England u21 duty for "personal reasons". We all here hope everything is OK for Marcus so far for us he's proven to be a good keeper with the potential to be great. He's doing a sterling job as our number 1 but would also be an excellent back up to a more experienced keeper, who could also help his development. Schwazer is an obvious choice being well down the pecking order at Chelsea and a former legend at the club. A previous offer was turned down due to Cech potentially leaving in January. Another option could be Brad Friedel at spurs, He certainly has the experience and should still be able to cut it at championship level. Both these players are based in London increasing the chances of any short term deal.
Our back line has a stable look to it now with Burn and Bodurov in the centre back positions, Hoogland and Amorebieta would be the expected first choices at right and left back respectively if it weren't for injury With Stafylidis and Zverotic filling in. Despite results improving we have still shipped a lot of goals, I would certainly like to see some more experience in the middle and cover at right back is essential. Rumours have been circulated of another ex-Fulham player returning in the shape of Chris Baird, yes Bairdinho. I would love to see the versatile defender back in black and white, he currently finds himself on the bench at West brom and would add experience along with guaranteed solid performances across the back and even in midfield if asked. He was part of the Burnley side that got promoted last year so can definitely still cut it. Looking at championship form Simon Francis at high flying Bournemouth has put in a string of excellent performances. At 29 he has experience and a good cross with 4 assists already. The problem here could be luring him away from a team already near the top of the table, hopefully the weight of Fulham FC and our recent premier league experience and desire to return could convince him it's the right career choice.
A player who is in need of rebuilding his reputation is Nastasic of Man City. Despite being highly rated when joining City he has yet to play for them in the league this year and is reported to be looking for a move, would he be willing to drop down a league? He would certainly add to the quality of the squad. Vlad Chiriches, currently at Spurs is another player finding himself warming the bench this season. Nicknamed Vlad the impaler for his robust tackling, his steel at the back could be well suited to the Championship but again it would rely on him making that dreaded drop down the league.
In central midfield it seems obvious to me that we need an enforcer, someone who will sit in front of the back four, win the ball and give it to a more talented player to start an attack. It's a role that has been fulfilled brilliantly by the likes of Dickson Etuhu, Bouba Diop and most recently Diarra. Etuhu is currently a free agent and at only 32 we could probably do a lot worse than sign him up. It seems you have to include a Spurs player in every position, they're squad is bloated and possibly a reason for their struggles and once again they have a player that could fit the bill perfectly in Paulinho. Ok so his 17million price tag and wage expectations might be a bit of a stumbling block but he has only played 30 minutes of football this season so if he's desperate for first team football I would love to see him at the Cottage. Steve Sidwell needs to get a mention here too. Many fans player of the season last year, it was clear he didn't want to leave. He has started the last two games for stoke, however before that he had racked up just 68 minutes, could he be tempted for a triumphant return with Scotty Parker in midfield? Within our own league James McArthur really impressed me when we played them recently and has had an excellent season despite Wigan's similarly poor start to our own. They are still in the drop zone however so perhaps we could tempt him to join our cause, at 27 he is in his prime and could help us in the premier league upon our return.
In the wing positions we certainly have some emerging talents in Williams and Roberts and Ruiz has real quality filling in on the right, however for me he's not a winger and a lot of his quality is wasted out there. So who might be available to fulfil this gap? Well aiming high Mo Salah from Chelsea has only had 14 minutes of football this season, surprising after he looked extremely dangerous working on the opposite flank to Hazard last year. A short term loan could be good for both parties, allowing him game time to find fitness and form whilst adding the talent Roberts promises to our first team but with the advantage of having gone through puberty. Ben Marshall of Blackburn has been making a name for himself, playing on both wings and even filling in at right back, his versatility could be invaluable. At 23 he would be considered young but for at Fulham he would become our most experienced natural winger, he's scored 6 goals too which can't be ignored especially with McCormack seemingly determined to set up a team mate rather than take a shot.
I'm actually very happy with the options we have upfront, there's pace from Rodallega and Dembele, power and guile in McCormack and Woodrow, skill and trickery provided by Ruiz or Roberts if played behind the striker as well as height with Matt Smith and Adam Taggart when he returns from injury. I know we should always look to improve but stability can be a good thing too and something we have lacked before Symonds took charge. The rewards of a steady squad are starting to show as we are now 4th in the goals scored table.
So there we have it, a look at a few of the names possibly available, please let us know what you think. Have we got it all wrong and aimed to high or too low? Should we just stick with the players we have and hope the team spirit carries us through? Have you spotted a star playing for the opposition we should snap up now, leave your thoughts in the comments and we can have a good debate whilst we wait for this international break to finish so the real excitement of domestic football can continue. COYW!