Deadline day is done, and anyone expecting a quiet or predictable day at Fulham was in for quite a surprise. The two departures that once seemed certain failed to materialize, while the club refused to let the transfer embargo get in the way of doing business and brought in new talent on loan. As if that weren’t enough, Fulham trimmed some fat and brought an unexpected face back to West London. Below, Cottagers Confidential reviews what may turn out to be one of the most successful windows in recent years.
In: Zakaria Labyad (Sporting CP - loan), Rohan Ince (Brighton - loan), Michael Madl (Sturm Graz – loan), Fernando Amorebieta (recalled from loan),
Out: Kay Voser (contract terminated), Nikolay Bodurov (Midtjylland – loan), Sean Kavanagh (Mansfield - loan), Adam Taggart (Perth Glory – undisclosed), Jack Grimmer (Shrewsbury – loan)
The most significant developments for Fulham this window are the transfers that did not happen. Both Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembélé remain Fulham players, with the former close to signing an improved contract which could keep him at the club until 2020. It remains to be seen whether Jokanovic and the Fulham board can convince Dembélé to commit his future to the club, but if not, as seems likely, Fulham will have his goals to get them to safety but will lose him for a negligible fee this summer. Nonetheless, it is difficult to overstate the significance of retaining the club’s most potent attacking talent.
There has been somewhat less fanfare surrounding the news that Fulham have retained Ryan Sessegnon, the academy defender who has been described as the next Gareth Bale. He was subject to interest from Arsenal in the late hours of deadline day, but the move – thankfully - failed to materialize. With so much young talent having recently departed (Patrick Roberts) or on the verge of departing (Dembélé), time may reveal this to be a more important development than anyone yet realizes.
Cottagers Confidential has already discussed the arrival of Labyad, Ince, and Madl, but these moves provide much needed depth and versatility from attack to defense. Boro fans on Twitter have expressed ambivalence at the news of Amorebieta’s departure, but the Venezuelan defender could provide some experience and versatility to the Fulham backline. Cottagers will be hopeful that, under Jokanovic, Amorebieta can rediscover the form that earned him his reputation in La Liga several seasons ago.
Under normal circumstances, Fulham supporters would be pleased with the business the club have conducted. In light of the transfer embargo, however, it is difficult to deny that this may prove to be one of the most successful windows in recent memory. The task that now lies before the club is to right the ship and produce the kind of performances of which this squad are capable. Optimism has been in short supply lately, but with this transfer window Khan and Jokanovic have given the Fulham faithful reasons to be hopeful.