Fulham Premier League Preview
Players In: Hugo Rodallega, Mladen Petric, George Williams
Players Out: Danny Murphy, Andrew Johnson, Dickson Etuhu, Marcel Gecov
For Fulham fans, although their business this summer has been fairly limited they will be preying for the closing of the transfer window. If Fulham can keep hold of Dempsey and Dembele then they will have an attacking line up to match their resolute defence. With clubs like Liverpool and Real Madrid hovering only the most optimistic of fans can hope for both to remain at the club with Dempsey already training on his own away from the first team squad.
The new signings Rodallega and Petric will be expected to contribute straightaway as the only two out and out forwards at the club. Bryan Ruiz will also be expected to deliver a lot more on the abundance of talent that he clearly has. With his acclimatisation period under his belt it is time for the Costa Rican to step up. The loss of Danny Murphy although sad should be offset by the myriad of options at Martin Jol’s disposal.
Youngsters Kerim Frei and Pajtim Kasami both showed moments of Premier League poise last season and Jol will be hoping these two can step into the aging Damien Duff and Simon Davies boots. The defence remains unchanged and can be expected to be as tight and organised as ever. Jol has now had two pre-seasons with the club and will be hoping this year he can showcase the attacking game his sides favour.
First game analysis:
Not bad. A Fulham win looked on the cards versus Norwich, but a five nil demolition without the on-strike Clint Dempsey was a real surprise performance. Martin Jol has raided the continent superbly to strengthen Mark Hughes ageing side and there are some exciting youngsters who should impress. Kacanikilic was superb, and with Kerim Frei and Pajtim Kasami waiting in the wings Fulham could push for the Europa League places, even without Dempsey. Mladen Petric has a fantastic record in some of the strongest leagues in Europe, and after two goals on his debut looks an inspired free transfer – proof that there is value in the market.
If Fulham can hang onto Dembele and perhaps use the funds from the sale of Dempsey to sign a sitting or defensive central midfielder of real quality then they could be looking at another shot at European qualification. Failure to hang on to Dembele should not be seen as a catastrophe as with £20m+ Jol should be able to find replacements.