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2018 Fulham Player Reviews: Rui Fonte

Does the veteran striker have a shot of regaining a spot on the Matchday squad week-in week-out?

Fulham v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Basic Stats: 27 appearances | 16 starts | 11 substitutions | 1,381 minutes | 3 goals | 2 assists

Economics: £8.21 million Transfer Fee | Signed: 2016 | Contract Ends in 2020 w/ a club option

Stats by Seven-Game sequences

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WhoScored Rating Chart

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Goals vs. Expected Goals


Transfermarket Value Chart


CC Thoughts: Just when you thought that Fulham found their man at center forward in August 2017, the joy went away in a flash. That was kind of the story of Rui Fonte this past season, especially after scoring a wonder strike at Portman Road against Ipswich Town. Now, he is fighting for playing time not that long after signing the seventh most expensive contract in club history.

While there haven’t been many success stories coming of transfers coming from Portugal not named FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon or Benfica, Fonte seemed like a good gamble at the time as he garnered tons of experience at Portugal’s top flight, La Liga and even Arsenal’s youth academy. Along with that, the 28-year old should have had a smoother transition towards England’s second tier of football. Instead, Fonte esentially lost any chance of playing once Aleksander Mitrovic arrived to take his place.

Some of that was the fault of Fonte who has never been known for being the shoot-for-volume striker that is required for being good enough for any level of top flight European football. Plenty of this is also on Craig Kline who thought it was a good idea to bring a now 29-year old over for such a contract over in the first place. Lastly, part of Fonte’s problems go towards manager Slavisa Jokanovic who thought it was a good idea to play him out wide during those torrid run of games in November and December even through he has never been known for being great at dribbling or creating chances.

But hey, at least Fonte was able to pull off a ridiculous performance in the 6-1 thumping of Burton where he scored 2 of his goals while coming off the bench. It’s just too bad his solid performances were few and far between. Now that Fulham are in England’s top flight and that Fonte is getting another year closer to 30, who knows if he’ll be able to get a chance to prove the doubters wrong.

Key Stat: 25.8% shooting percentage. So in the lexicon of football stats, shooting percentage is a tad different than the shooting percentage that you would see in other goal-based sports like ice hockey. Instead, shooting percentage is more to do with the rate in which a footballer is able to put his shot on target. For Fonte’s case in 2017/18, his strike rate for just going on target was well below what an attacking player normally should have.

To put things in perspective, in Fonte’s league career based off the data, his shooting percentage normally sits at an effective 41.7%. Along with that, Fonte’s 5 shots within the six-yard box are almost double his usual rate per-90 minutes than at any other season of his career.

Your thoughts: Welp, what say you about the veteran striker? Does Fonte have what it takes to bounce back and garner a spot in Jokanovic’s rotation this Premier League season? If so, was his low strike rate simply a matter of an adjustment to English football or something else? If not, will Fulham be able to sell him with a good transfer fee in return? Feel free to share your thoughts below.