Column: A New Presence Up Top

Fulhamish 16th August 2017

A striker has been very much at the top of many Fulham fans wishlists this transfer window. What the club have missed is a goal scorer, and it’s the key position that the fan base has been crying out to be filled by the ownership. Crucially, a striker would also massively boost the club’s chances of promotion this season to the Premier League.

After losing out on the likes of Steve Mounie to Huddersfield and not being able to secure a deal for Diego Rolan of Bordeaux, Fulham found themselves needing a goal scorer pretty urgently. However, this need may have been fulfilled today as SC Braga of the Primeira Liga in Portugal released an official statement confirming that club captain Rui Fonte will be joining the Cottagers for a fee of around €9m.

Whilst in the wider context of today’s transfer market this may sound reasonably cheap, it remains a fact that this is certainly a big money move for any Championship club, of which Fulham are no exception, and the transfer should give the fans a sense of ambition and willingness to proceed.

Managing to net 11 goals in a season riddled with injuries, Fonte took charge of Braga’s impressive climb up the table as they finished fourth in the 16/17 season. He isn’t renowned for being particularly physical but can regain possession and shrug off opposition with either a neat bit of skill or simply sheer determination.

Picking the ball up from deep and slowly building up the play to then burst into the box is something he will look to do  in the Championship and this in itself could cause a lot of problems for a number of the Whites’ Championship rivals this year.

A player that looks to get in behind and have the opposing defence facing their own goal is what they need to help bring players like Aluko, Kebano and Ayite into the game to really make a difference in the final third. So far this season, this link up man is what Fulham have sorely lacked at times and the club hopefully now have what they were missing.Very exciting times are ahead for Fulham as they now know they have one of the best strikers in the league to help promotion hopes and can build on the foundations they already have at the club.

If the transfer is a success, then there can be no doubt that very exciting times are ahead for Fulham, as if Fonte performs, he has the potential to become one of the best strikers in the league. That could very easily be the difference between pushing for the playoffs or for automatics, and if Fonte fits in with the style and foundations that Jokanovic has already instilled at the club, there is no reason why he can’t fulfil his potential.

Another new face that today has been brought to the Cottage is 20-year-old Sheyi Ojo, who has joined on a season long loan from Premier League side Liverpool. Ojo has had previous spells on loan at Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers, although he was considerably younger during both of these loan deals.

Ojo also has played at International level with England all the way up from U16 to U20, and thus he is definitely not lacking experience. That said, the loanee is still a very young player and still learning the ropes of the game in terms of how he fits into different sides. He will provide another option on the wing, and with skill, pace and power featuring heavily in his game, it’s very possible that the Liverpool youngster will be able to ruffle a few feathers in the Championship this season.

With two very strong singings in a matter of days,  Fulham fans have every right to feel rejuvenated and it looks increasingly as if the whole club is coming together behind the scenes to allow Slavisa Jokanovic the tools to get the club back where they belong. A new hunger and determination will be the key to working with the talent the club and players bring, in order that last season’s levels can be surpassed and further success can be witnessed at the Cottage.