As wintery conditions cause chaos over the UK, it seems Clubs across the country seem intent on producing their own brands of bedlam as we hit the mid-point in this season’s January Transfer Window.
As we move further and further away from the times where transfers were permitted throughout the year, January has slowly become the footballing equivalent to Black Friday – desperation in the air, an unnecessary amount of pushing and shoving and not many sensible ‘deals’ to pick up.
In ‘The Olliewood Moment’ podcast released this week, the boys referenced that Clubs are willing to spend that little bit extra on ‘Hail Mary’ attempts to either push for the title/promotion or claw themselves away from the jaws of the League below – one example given was the Rams investing £1.5 million on Norwich forward, Cameron Jerome, in, undoubtedly, a bid to maintain their Premier League promotion push.
The boys wholeheartedly agreed that this valuation was above & beyond any fee they would be happy for Fulham to spend, especially when you contextualise that Jerome turns 32 at the start of next season, has only managed 1 goal from 15 Championship appearances since August and shouldn’t be a foresight purchase to a hopeful season in the top flight next year.
With attacking options at Derby now set to overflow, Fulham’s own pantomime villain of last season, Chris Martin, looks more than likely to assist a Championship rival for the remainder of the campaign and, with both Leeds and Reading interested, is it worth Fulham putting their name in the pot?
Putting all matters which happened off the pitch last season and what you might think of him personally aside, Martin fits the bill as to what we want/need in a striker. During his more stand-out performances in a Fulham shirt last season, he did well to hold up the ball, bring our pacey wingers into the game and finish clinically. You’d think Ojo, Ayite, Kebano, Piazon and Sessegnon would thrive with such a teammate.
Furthermore, there’s no hiding the fact that he has been one of the most prolific Strikers in the Championship for nearly half a decade – it’s this vast experience of the competition which is what we are massively lacking from our current crop of forwards. We all know that the Championship is a complex maze to successfully get out of – I think anyone with a piece of the map is welcome.
Another key point to make is, if we managed to bring Martin in, whether it be on a short/long term loan deal (preferably) or permanently, we would be investing in a player who already knows how Slavisa likes his football to be played.
You’d expect there to be little to no teething problems (which Rui Fonte still seems to be going through…) and already has experience playing alongside the significant majority of the squad. In terms of identifying targets to bring into the football club, there aren’t many players that fit this crucial mould.
Finally, with the wage bill being freed up from the departures of both Madl and Graham, and the possibilities of Rafa Soares and Yohan Mollo ending their own spells at the Cottage early, there is clearly a bit of cash in the kitty to steal Martin on a short-term loan deal until the end of the season. Considering all of the above, he could well prove to be a very useful cog that cranks us into the Playoffs for back-to-back seasons.
To get it out the way early, it’s going to take a bit of time for the Fulham Faithful to get over the absolute farce that Martin put the team, the Manager and the fans through this time last year.
Citing ‘homesickness’, refusing to play and trying to force an early move back to Derby turned Martin into the aforementioned Pantomime Villain whenever Slav called upon him to don south west London’s version of the ‘white shirt’.
All this begs the question; should he even deserve another shot at Fulham? However mixed we feel as a fan base, it’s crucial to look at the supposed reaction of the team when McCormack’s return was on the cards last season. All the headlines and stories read that Cairney & Co. unanimously boycotted any grand return for Ross and they may well feel the same about Martin.
Furthermore, to say Martin has seen a serious lack of game time this season is an understatement. Managing to notch 1 goal from 5 starts and 18 substitute appearances, Martin has hardly been lighting up the iPro when given a sniff and, bearing in mind Jerome’s arrival and the current talent upfront for Derby, you can entirely understand why the Rams see fit to send him away for the remainder of the season/permanently altogether.
In conclusion, considering our forward options and what we require, Martin may not be the type of striker we need right now. Sure he used his frame to hold the ball up and bring others into play but AK47 has the power to fit that bill plus he has the pace to burn, which Martin doesn’t.
Is the money freed up from departures then best spent elsewhere? Fulham are not as free-scoring as we were last season but is the hole at the back the priority? It seems that way…
Decision Time: Forgive or Forget?
Is Martin, a very experienced Championship striker with key, insider Fulham knowledge, a useful asset to have as we push for the Top 6 once again or are his previous dramas, playing style and lack of form enough to convince you that we need to look elsewhere to be successful this season? Let us know in the comments below or in our Twitter Poll which you can find here.