Whenever a team is promoted from the Championship, especially one which has already had a taste of Premier League football, it is vital that the team invests to get their team up to scratch. It is true that the Championship is one of the hardest leagues in world football, but the level of the Premier League is so high, that a different set of skills is required for teams to survive. If you were to look at any back in May, you would have seen Fulham as favourites for the drop this year, yet here we are in August, with the Cottagers odds on to finish in 14th spot, and even had them odds on to beat Palace at the weekend. The reason for this new opinion of the London outfit is the transfers which they have brought in, and here is why the perfectly managed the window, and why they will be just fine this year.
The Fulham board have done something this year that few newly promoted clubs do, in being bold in the transfer market and supporting their manager. The board were bold in bringing in players such as Jean Michel Seri, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Anguissa, spending more than £60 million on the three players. Fulham have not only been bold in how much they have spent on transfers – their net spend was £131 million – but they have also been spending in other areas too bringing in 6 loan deals with costly wages.
Aside from the money that the board have invested in transfers, they have been smart enough to tie down some great loan deals. We all know the dangers of buying too many new players, and then being stuck with them when you get relegated like with QPR back in 2013, so Fulham have been smart in this approach.
People often talk about older players as offering experience, but for clubs like Fulham, they simply need players who know what the Premier League is all about. This is where Fulham have really struck gold, having brought in Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson, Fosu-Mensah, Calum Chambers and Andre Schurlle. These are players who will not be surprised by the pace of the league or its challenges, and they are also players who, with the exception of Schurlle, will not have to uproot their personal lives too much in order to make the move.
Not only have Fulham covered all of the positions where they lacked last year, and added squad depth, they have also brought in some real class to help them fight for safety this year. Andre Schurlle is a World Cup winner who has played at the highest level of world football, and is still just 27, arguably in his prime. Jean Michel Seri is a masterstroke of a deal, the 26 year old bossed the Nice midfield last year, providing over 23 assists and 8 goals in all competitions, and with Mitrovic who is still just 23 years old, they have the most important piece of the puzzle, a goal scorer.
Fulham will be just fine this year, because of the great work which they’ve done in the window, other teams should take note.