With Claudio Ranieri being at the helm since last November, it was quite clear that he wanted to come in and put a footprint to his style of play at Fulham. With that comes plenty of changes in and out of the club and developing a group of players that he thinks are best to get results. Clearly though, Stefan Johansen and Aboubakar Kamara were not in his plans anymore. Both have not seen the pitch in Premier League play since the New Year and while the former just simply fell too far down the pecking order, the latter made headlines for his exit from the club.
The result has been that Johansen left for West Bromwich Albion on loan deal that will last until the end of the season. Along with that Kamara will be in the Turkish Superliga Yeni Malatyaspor on a similar term. While both players could return to Fulham after this season, Johansen is on the final year of his contract and could leave on a free transfer. Kamara on the other hand, will still be under his current deal until the summer of 2021. Yeah, that’s not great at all!
But in the meantime, Johansen will be hoping to return to the heights of the previous two seasons in which he banged in 19 goals and 17 assists in 7,112 Championship minutes. This season, the Norwegian captain was limited to just 411 Premier League minutes and has not recorded any goals or assist this season. And while his black marks from 2017/18 like dribbled past rate and tackling efficiency have improved, the rest of his numbers worsened while trying to be an impact player from the bench and the eye test will confirm that as well.
While at West Brom, Johansen will hope to come in and be either a perfect replacement to Harvey Barnes as someone that can play behind a center forward, or as a creative outlet from midfield. The Baggies are in the thick of the playoff races this season after being relegated from the Premier League the previous campaign. With the goals from Barnes, a now injured Matt Phillips, Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez, they are deemed the entertainers of the league despite playing a three-at-the-back system. If only a certain club down in the Southwest of England would check this club out and see how they do it?
As for Mr. Kamara, there’s nothing else to say other than this is a reclamation project. While the stats will tell you that he’s a solid center forward with a good burst of speed, supporters and journalists alike will tell you otherwise thanks to his complete lack of a first touch and a supposed lack of footballing brain.
As I suggested a while back, Aboubakar Kamara is pretty much the worst Premier League player of all-time. Amateur on and off the pitch.— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesBR) January 23, 2019
I for one am more sympathetic towards Kamara and would be even more fascinated to see how someone would go on to suddenly lose it emotionally the way he’s done over the previous couple of months. Only Kamara himself can tell you what has caused him to do the things he’s done and lead him to be one of the most hated Fulham figures in recent memory. Unless he performs well for the third best team in Turkey, Kamara’s contract length and previous transfer fee will forever limit his prospects of finding a better club and for Fulham to turn a profit on him when it’s time to sell him. I personally won’t forget the impact he had in the second leg of the Championship playoff semifinal against Derby where he ran Derby’s aging defense ragged in the first half. When the dust gets settled decades later, we will surely know more about the chaos that ensued this season between Kamara and Fulham.
Until then, I do wish both players the best the rest of this season.