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A Cottagers Contemplation - Has McCormack become expendable?

From talismanic striker to dispensable property. All over the course of the pre-season period. But why has the fans opinion changed so drastically?

Fulham v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

With the striker not travelling with the team on the club's Portuguese tour, rumours of the player’s departure constantly circluating throughout the media.

The one question on every Fulham fans mind is will he stay or should he go?

In this addition of A Cottagers Contemplation I will be exploring the pro’s and con’s of the prolific striker remaining at Fulham.

I highly recommend a listen to the insights of Russ Goldman and his co-hosts Mike Gregg & Brenden Cronin in the latest show of Cottage Talk. As the team give a great analogy on the McCormack situation.

I will be using some of the points raised in the podcast to help decide whether it would be beneficial to keep the Scotsman or for the club to listen to offers.


Fulham v Sheffield United - Capital One Cup Second Round Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

All in favour of staying?

There is no doubt that Ross McCormack is regarded among the highest calibre of players in the Championship.

Having made himself the focal point of Fulham’s forward line since joining the club in 2014. With an impressive 23 goals in 49 games last season for a struggling Fulham side, it is evident why McCormack is regarded as one of the best strikers in the league.

In McCormack, the Cottagers possess a clinical finisher that manages to tally up the goals every season. If Fulham were to lose their '20 goal a season' striker it would be difficult to replace a goal scorer of his quality. His goals subsequently kept Fulham in the Championship last season.

Fulham’s Player of the Season also showed his leadership prowess last season, captaining the team in the absence of club captain Scott Parker.

The striker is also the clubs set piece taker. Within the club their are numerous players that possess the corner taking ability. Where as it may prove a formidable task to match the standard of the Scotsman’s direct free kick ability.

Fans of the Cottagers are concerned of yet again seeing a 'Dembele effect' cause further collateral damage on the club. They are fearfully reminiscent of the turmoil that bestowed the club in the departure of the Belgian Dembele in 2012. A mismanaged transfer partnered with a lack of replacement left the club stripped of quality in midfield. The squad showed signs of dejection and never managed to recuperate, ultimately leading to the teams relegation in 2014.

In a footballing aspect, there is not doubt in my mind to keep hold of Ross McCormack, but I still question how long will Fulham’s talisman remain at his peak?


Fulham v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Is the exit door beckoning?

If you are to believe the other half of the rumours, then McCormack is heading towards the exit door of Craven Cottage.

But would that be the worse case scenario?

When weighing up the pro's and con's, the latter looks to outweigh the two. It Seems to be the most beneficial for the club’s progression in the near future.

With the saga hanging heavy around the necks of the fans and management staff alike, McCormack’s future surrounds the club in uncertainty ever transfer window. The negativity may begin to prove to be more of a distraction to the teams status quo.

The team's unison has been successful throughout pre-season and could become endangered unless McCormack himself announces that he wants to remain at the club.

McCormack is renowned to be a Championship journeyman and possibly could be becoming disgruntled with his time in West London.

Which could feature heavily apon the team spirit. With the clubs ‘marquee’ player’s future constantly being an uncertainty, may leave the teams unity in jeopardy .

Team spirit played a crucial part towards Leicester City's Premier League success last term.

Belief amongst the squad and within your fellow team mates ability is essential over a long campaign.

I am by no means saying that Fulham will win the league on character alone but the team can take a lot from The Foxes triumph.

The Leicester players were playing with passion and determination, matching the managers intentions. Claudio Raneiri's identity on the squad gave the players belief.

Similar to what we have seen throughout pre-season so far with Fulham. Jokanovic has given his players belief, the new arrivals have seen his determination to succeed.

Could it be possible that in fact McCormack is being edged towards the door?

As this saga continues, one question has begun to rise among the fanbase. ‘Does McCormack feature as part of Slavisa Jokanovic plans as he looks to renovate his squad?’

Constant queries of his match fitness appear across social media every offseason and yet again have raised its ugly head?

Weight issues have always been an concern amongst the fans of the teams he has represented.

The Scottish international’s pre-season has been an inactive one, suggesting a possible ‘injury’ or perhaps pushing towards a rumoured move.

McCormack has always had a stockier build but nevertheless he continues to tally up the goals every season. However this coming season, McCormack’s lack of athleticism may prove to be increasingly relevant.

Jokanovic likes to play a pressing style of play and will be looking towards the players that fit his regime. Preferencing a player that fits his desired pressing style of play.

Nevertheless a player of McCormack’s stature would not suit the playing style required by Slavisa.

Could his lack of athleticism ultimately see him drop to a Attacking Midfielder role?

Throughout the pre-season Slavisa has played fast and attacking football. Forwards have been more of presence whilst pressurising the opposition defenders.

So where would McCormack fit into the squad?

Initial thoughts would suggest perhaps playing him in a more subdued role just behind the striker. However Slavisa has already opted for Sone Aluko to fill this role throughout pre-season.

Aluko is a natural centre forward and is comfortable in playing just behind the striker. Is Jokanovic's choice of the Nigerian a statement of intent or simply because McCormack is injured?

With McCormack soon turning 30 years old, It remains open to debate whether or not the Scotsman will continue to fire on all cylinders and if the manager choses to play him just behind the forwards.

Leading to further questions over the strikers future. Would we see the best of him in an midfield role?

With the possibility of McCormack’s departure, would see the once solitary scoring responsibilities spread out amongst the team.

An intriguing final thought, within the last 3 teams the Scotsman has represented. His prolific goal scoring record has not managed to see any of his sides promoted from the Championship.


Fulham v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Summary

In my opinion I feel that it would be in the clubs best interest to listen to any realistic offers we receive for him. As previously mentioned, how long will we see the best of McCormack?

With the hitman due to turn 30 next month. The possibility of a dip in form over the next year and the club could see a mere faction of the transfer fee being offered this summer.

Whether its this window or the next, If McCormack is unhappy at the club unfortunately there will be nothing that Fulham could do to sway his feelings.

That alone leads me to suggest to get the most we can for the prized possession. That and the possibility of galvanising the team and improving the clubs morale, which I believe that we as fans have seen glimpses of over the pre-season.

I personally am optimistic for this coming season. I am interested to see fellow fans of Fulham views on this topic.

Leave your thoughts on the McCormack situation in the thoughts below.