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Fulham closing in on Austrian defender Michael Madl

SK Sturm Graz has confirmed that the move is close to complete.

Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images

Fulham is currently under a transfer embargo and can only sign players on free transfers or on loans, but this deal seems to be all but complete.

The club has confirmed in a statement on their website that Michael Madl left the training camp in Belek and is traveling to London for a medical checks with Fulham.

The club's general manager Gerhard Goldbrich said:

We have put together a good overall package with the English giants Fulham FC and will have final negotiations tomorrow.

Michael Madl added this when asked about the transfer:

I had three wonderful years at Sturm, but the time has come for me to take advantage of the chance to play in England. I would like to thank the black and white for giving me the opportunity to fulfill this dream.

Since Madl still has 18 months left on his contract, this must be a loan deal. Most likely there is an option of some sort to buy him outright when the embargo is lifted.

Fulham have struggled in defense and has not been able to find a backline that works for them. Is Madl the kind of player that could help sort his out? Cottagers Confidential reached out to Tim Armitage who covers Austrian Football for Football Radar and for his own site From London to Lintz. Tim had this to say:

  • Took over captaincy for Sturm Graz at the beginning of the 14/15 season and has gone from strength to strength since then - made 128 appearances for the club.
  • Not the tallest of defenders (1.83m) but is still good in the air (defensively) and a threat from corners when attacking.
  • He is somewhat of a free-kick 'specialist' although his goal scoring record from set-pieces is not great.
  • He was recently linked with the likes of 1860 Munich in the 2.Bundesliga although a move never materialised.
  • Although he is yet to earn a cap for the Austrian national team, he was in 4 of their last 5 squads and could be with the team in summer for the Euros.
To sum him up - he is a hardworking, gritty defender who acts as a leader on the pitch and can win you games from the back - however, he has been known to lose his head at times, either making silly decisions or lacking concentration.
Set piece defending sounds good. Fulham have struggled there, and anyone who can help will be an asset. Though the final caveat makes him sound like a typical Fulham defender. Let's just hope his lack of concentration and silly decisions are less frequent than the players already at the club.