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Fulham's January Transfer Dealings Add Versatility

Fulham had a lot of player movement in this window despite a transfer ban. Here's a best guess at how the depth chart looks.

Fulham somehow managed to bring in reinforcements without letting anyone of consequence go in January. The current squad gives Slavisa Jokanovic many options in terms of player selection, formation, and strategy.

4-3-3 Formation

3-5-2 Formation

It's not entirely clear what kind of formation Jokanovic will be running. He's used a traditional 4-4-2, a 4-4-1-1, and a 4-5-1 in his brief time in charge already.

The team doesn't have a lot of forward depth. Until Woodrow returns in March (fingers crossed), there are really only three true forwards on the squad. That would usually suggest going to one up top. However, McCormack and Dembele almost have to be on the pitch at the same time whenever possible. That means either a two or three forward formation, unless you want to see McCormack as an attacking midfield player

The team also has six center backs. That many almost cries out for three at the back. Given all of that, it makes sense that Fulham will probably be lining up in a 4-3-3 or a 3-5-2.

There are problems with either setup. In a 4-3-3, you're pushing McCormack wide. While he can cut in, you probably want your best goal scorer playing as close to the goal as possible. You can alleviate this to a certain extent by going to two up top, but then you risk McCormack and one of your attacking midfielders occupying the same spaces as McCormack is apt to drop back or float out wide.

A 3-5-2 might be the better solution. The hardest part though is sorting out the midfield. Which attacking midfielder do you play with Ross: Cairney, Pringle, Labyad? Which two central mids will stay deeper? What do you do with your wide attackers like Kacaniklic and Williams?

Fredericks and Garbutt are both great attacking options at fullback, which makes the 3-5-2 with them as wing backs a very attractive idea. Fulham have struggled mightily in defense, and much of that has come from the center backs being pressured with no help from the midfield or the fullbacks. Keeping three center backs on the pitch is a good way to address this. The problem will arise though when you square off against teams that only play one up top. Three center backs can be over kill for that kind of situation.

The centerbacks are where the most intrigue might be. There are five players that would be considered high quality and the sixth (Hutchinson) isn't that bad. It makes sense to try to get as many on the pitch as possible. Another point in favor of the 3-5-2.

Fulham were looking to bring in a new keeper in this window, but couldn't manage it. While Lonergan has been acceptable he hasn't been great. Bettinelli could be returning as early as late February, but after that much time off, there's no telling what kind of form he'll be in.

All of that being said, this is starting to look like a squad with options. Want to play three at the back? They can do it. Want to play 4-4-2 with a flat back four? Just put Amorebieta or Ream on the left and Stearman on the right. Want to play attacking fullbacks? Fulham has those too. They have wingers for a traditional 4-4-2. They can play three up top. They can put in Matt Smith and play kick and rush. There are multiple options at attacking midfield and defensive midfield. There's no guessing what Fulham are going to do, because at this point they're really capable of doing anything. It may have taken two windows, but there is finally a squad that makes sense. The current depth chart doesn't really show any large holes. If the players brought in on loan impress, there might even be options to keep them around. With minimal losses going into next season (possibly only Hyndman and Dembele), there might be little turnover in the summer. That might just give Fulham a chance to go up next year.

January Depth Chart