Hello everyone. How’s you’re morning after that abnormal transfer deadline day? Are you even caught up with how the squad list even looks like? Have no fear because that is the sole purpose of presenting this piece over to you.
Previously, Slavisa Jokanovic was complaining as recently as preseason that the senior team needed cover at every position after his starting XI. While that sounded like an insult to Tony Kahn and the Fulham board, he wasn’t wrong in stating that the club were in desperate need of senior players to fill in the Premier League’s mandated 25-man squad list. Within the span of 24 hours, Fulham signed five new players that completed that total and more.
Surely though, this will make anyone wonder how the senior team shapes up after so much turnover. Fear not as this post is your lovely guide to just that.
Welp, if you thought having Fabri and Marcus Bettinelli makes for a crowded goalkeeper room, get a load of what happens when Sergio Rico joins the fold. There’s a real sense that Slavisa Jokanovic has differing opinions with Fabri due to his mediocre preseason performances, hence why he thought it was necessary to get another goalkeeper on loan. However, that leads to having a possible discord in the dressing room due to the well-acclaimed production with Marcus Bettinelli from the previous two campaigns. Regardless of the task at hand, you would have thought Bettinelli would join Ryan Sessegnon to go from academy products to Premier League veterans.
Instead, it feels likes he is being thrown at the curve for nothing that was of his control. I personally would have loved to seen him go on loan if this is genuinely how Jokanovic or the Fulham board feels about where things stand in goal. However, that hasn’t materialized just yet and now we’re stuck in a holding pattern as to who will be Fulham’s first choice for all 38 league games.
Just when Jokanovic was ready to throw his toys in the pram following a 2-2 preseason draw with Celta Vigo, Tony Kahn went on to bring in two additional defenders to a backline that already looks dramatically different. In the end, only Tim Ream and Denis Odoi have been with the club since 2016 while Marcelo Djalo is the only other Fulham defender to come in the summer of 2017. Yeah, that’s a lot of turnover right there.
As great as it is to see so many new faces to improve a supposed weakness, being accustomed to one another’s playing style is the true key towards a successful back four and that is something that can only come with time. In the end, I won’t be surprised to still see chinks the armor on this side of the pitch until the real improvement begins.
If you thought the Tom Cairney-Stefan Johansen-Kevin McDonald axis was never going to be broken, this midfield might have a new feel to it. As great as it was to see that unit perform so well for so long, change is necessary as Fulham prepare for the Premier League. In come Jean-Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa who bring in so much experience in the upper echelons of Ligue 1. If anything, Fulham have much needed depth in this area of the pitch for the first time while Jokanovic has been in charge.
Meanwhile, Ibrahima Cisse has started to look better in preseason, according to multiple sources. And don’t write off academy products Luca De La Torre, Matt O’Riley and even Jon Dugar Thorsteinsson or Mattias Kait making an appearance in the matchday XVIII this season.
In the first few months of the season, Fulham had everything in place, except who would be able to score consistently up front. But once Sessegnon became a permanent fixture in the attacking three and Aleksander Mitrovic was brought in on the January transfer window, the starting XI became whole and the rest was history. Now that another two new faces were added in, there’s at least a front line that has the looks of a solid Premier League outfit.
Even if injuries were to occur, there are veterans from the previous two campaigns that can come in and do the job. Even Aboubakar Kamara is seen as a player that has improved massively this summer and can be seen as one that can produce in 2018/19.