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Who is Tom Cairney?

As many of us already know, Fulham completed the signing of midfielder Tom Cairney from Blackburn on Friday for a rumored £3.5 million fee. But what is there to know about the Whites' newest addition?

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images


Age: 24

Nationality: Scotland

Position: Center Mid, Right Mid, Attacking Mid

Contract: Signed through 2019 with Club option for 2020

Former Cubs: Hull City, Blackburn Rovers

Past Successes:

Cairney began his senior career with Hull City after progressing through both the Hull and Leeds youth systems. As an 18 year old, he debuted for the Tigers during a League Cup match in 2009 where he also netted his first career goal. He made his Premier League debut later in the season in a 2-2 draw against Wolverhampton. During that 2009 campaign, Cairney would go on to make 11 appearances in the league, 14 total for the club, but were unfortunately relegated to the Championship. Over the next three seasons in the second tier, the Scot would appear a total of 66 times for the Hull before moving to Blackburn on loan during the 2013/2014 season.

During that 2013/2014 season, his move was made permanent by the Rovers in January after a successful first half of the season. He would go on to be named the club’s player of the year after appearing 40 times and tallying 6 goals and 9 assists.

He followed that great showing with 45 appearances last season for Blackburn, scoring 3 times and assisting 7. He was deployed at right mid 20 times, center mid 18 times, and attacking mid 7 times. This shows he’s versatile if needed, being able to play all over the center and right side of midfield, but personally I would enjoy seeing him utilized in the center of the park in a more attacking role.

Style of Play:

Cairney is an attacking minded left-footed midfielder. He possesses great ability to pass the ball, creating more chances then any other Blackburn player last season. He can hold onto the ball well and isn’t afraid to go for the long shot every now and then. Here’s a video to give you a brief taste of what you can expect to see from the new Fulham man:

Midfield Implications:

I see the signing of Cairney shaking up several things for the Fulham midfield. Firstly, I believe Ryan Tunnicliffe will be relegated to the bench. I foresee Kit utilizing three center mids in his lineup, with Lasse Vigen Christensen and Scott Parker already considered as starters. This means one more spot remains, and Cairney is definitely a better option than Tunnicliffe. That being said, we know how much of a grind the Championship season is, so we should still see a lot of both Ryan Tunnicliffe and Emerson Hyndman in the middle of the park to give the old legs of Scott Parker, among others, a much needed rest.

I think the direction Fulham is going so far in the summer window is encouraging. Out of Championship players last season, both Ben Pringle and Tom Cairney ranked in the top 10 in key passes created per game. This needed addition to the Whites’ midfield should take some pressure off of talisman Ross McCormack, who was looked upon last season to simply do everything: create and score. That being said, strictly speaking on the midfield, I think management needs to look for another solid defensive minded player to help Scott Parker. LVC could fill that holding role if necessary, as he has done with the Danish under-21s, but at the same time he is great going forward. It will be interesting to see how Kit deploys these many options he now has. I think it’s safe to say that a strong midfield is a necessity in order to make a promotion run, and Fulham are well on their way to having one.


In conclusion, this signing is something that supporters should be excited about. Just seeing the reactions by Rovers fans on twitter should tell you that Fulham are receiving a talented player and someone who we can depend on in midfield for years to come. COYW!