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Slavisa Sounds Off

A deeper look into the Fulham manager’s controversial post-match comments.

Fulham v VfL Wolfsburg - Pre-Season Friendly
Slavisa Jokanovic: not a happy man
Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images

Following Fulham’s 3-0 loss to Wolfsburg Saturday afternoon, manager Slavisa Jokanovic gave an interview to BBC London Sport regarding the club’s transfer window so far. Within the two-minute long discussion, the Serbian made a number of comments that merited further investigation.

Most notably, Jokanovic mentioned that the club was looking to sell striker Sone Aluko, a decision he characterized as a “big mistake.” Jokanovic said he was “fighting” to keep Aluko, despite people around him wanting to sell the forward, who was signed at the start of the 2016/17 season.

These quotes prompted an extraordinary response from the club itself. Just minutes later, Fulham released a statement to BBC London Sport.

“The club understand [Aluko’s] true value and ultimately there will be a contract extension,” the statement read. “The club have had multiple bids for him and have rejected them.”

For Fulham to react so quickly to Jokanovic’s comments, and to so swiftly denounce the truth of his words, speaks to the disconnect that exists between the manager and the club. Sadly, this disconnect is nothing new, and Slavisa again brought up a constant theme in the interview today.

When asked about his thoughts on the transfers so far, Jokanovic did praise the contract extensions of Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, as well as applauding the loan deals for Lucas Piazon and Tomas Kalas. However, he went on to claim he “has not been a part of the recruitment this year” and said he “could not comment anymore on this process.”

Nevertheless, Jokanovic remarked that there was a need for quality signings up front and to replace left back Scott Malone, but insisted these decisions were not in his hands.

These claims have been frustratingly omnipresent during Jokanovic’s tenure as Fulham manager. Every transfer window seems to bring a new clash between the manager and those in charge of signing players, specifically Tony Khan and Craig Kline. These foolish airings of public grievances are increasingly irritating and present an image of a club in disarray.

Few other managers use such public forums to air their frustrations with the club and questions need to be asked as to why Jokanovic could not have addressed these concerns in private. Communication between the Khans and Jokanovic needs to be improved, or this disconnect could derail a promising season for the Whites.

But he allayed fears of his resigning or walking away from the job by saying he is “motivated” to work with the team and make Fulham more competitive.

What are your thoughts on Slavisa’s recent comments? Nothing to worry about or a big worry? Leave your opinion in the comments below.