With the start of a new season round the corner, the race of silly season is in full flow and transfer rumours abound everywhere. Cameron Ramsey sifts through the nonsense for you and picks out the stories you need to know about regarding all things black and white.
We are Premier League! Now that the privilege of gracing the top-flight is among us once more, it’s time to refocus after the 2017-18 campaign and prepare for an ecstatic, yet gruelling, 2018-19 campaign in the domineering company of Manchester City and chums, and though our squad is already the undisputed best in the land, obviously, there’s nothing like a few fresh faces to reinvigorate Slavisa Jokanovic’s triumphant fold, right?
The summer transfer window is now indeed open and the captivating world of tenuous speculation has arrived with a shoddily wrapped parcel of contentious pish posh for us all to scorn, scoff and sneer at, but given the names that the Whites have been paired with in the past week or so, there’s certainly reason to be happy, hopeful and, well, smug as a pig in a blanket, to put it diplomatically.
So pour another pint of craft ale or kale juice if you’re that way inclined, sling your feet up wherever you may be, and marvel at the professional personalities which could well become firm fan favourites very, very soon in this bumper transfer supplement. Ah yes, we’re glad it’s that dizzying time of year again, too.
Fyodor Smolov – FC Krasnodar
A reliable hit-man is required to survive amongst the top brass, and Fulham – as per a report published by Daily Mail – are said to be interested in landing FC Krasnodar’s Fyodor Smolov, who will skipper his country, Russia, at the 2018 World Cup in his homeland.
The 28-year-old is a reliable source in front of the target having found the back of the net 15 times last term for his current employers, a presence in the final third which alerted West Ham United to his esteemed services in January, although it’s believed that a bid of £11m was subsequently rebuffed by Byki, and rightly so, might I add.
Last season’s runaway Championship victors Wolverhampton Wanderers are also said to be a tailing party in the hunt for his signature, and if Smolov is to lead his men to an admirable finish in this summer’s international tournament, the two newly promoted contenders certainly won’t be the only clubs caught up in a frantic transfer melee for his trusted influence in the dressing room.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Newcastle United
Newcastle United’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, despite only being on our books temporarily, felt, celebrated and “shithoused” like a true Fulham attacker, and it’s thought that if the Cottagers were to lure him back down south to the river on a permanent basis – subject to a report published by Evening Standard – they’d have to match the Magpies’ valuation of £20m, a steal in the current transfer market, given the Serbian’s dogged, prolific nature in the danger area.
A ready-made marksman with a fiery demeanour, ‘Mitro’ hit the ground running at the turn of the new year under ‘Slav’s’ astute command and reignited his hunger for goals, often to devastating effect. The 23-year-old emphatically dispatched 12 pivotal strikes during his half season loan at the club and was a key component throughout, and as he always wore his heart on his sleeve, accompanied by a flailing limb or two, he even endeared himself to us Fulham faithful in the process.
Curbing his temperament was integral to unearthing his overwhelming potential, and having witnessed Mitrovic’s formative growth at Partizan Belgrade, Jokanovic knew how to handle, channel and transform his burdening aggression, taming him into one of the Championship’s most feared attackers for all the right reasons on the turf.
Gian Marco Ferrari – U.S. Sassuolo Calcio
No, not the spangly Italian sports car, but Sampdoria News reports that Fulham are allegedly weighing up a swoop for U.S. Sassuolo Calcio’s centre-back Gian Marco Ferrari, who had spent the previous campaign on loan at fellow Serie A outfit U.C. Sampdoria.
The 26-year-old became a mainstay in the heart of Sampdoria’s rearguard with 30 accomplished appearances in all competitions to his name and also endeavoured hardily at the back to ensure that the blucerchiati claimed scalps from AC Milan and domineering Turin-based titans Juventus en route to an admirable 10th-placed finish.
However it’s said that Ferrari, 6’2″, is also on Newcastle’s scouring radar, but Rafa Benitez will only pursue the Italian defender if they can offload Congolese enforcer Chancel Mbemba, who is seemingly surplus to requirement at St. James’ Park this summer.
Lamine Fomba – AJ Auxerre
French outlet L’Equipe – via GFF – claim that the Cottagers are tailing AJ Auxerre’s tireless central midfielder Lamine Fomba, who has been compared and likened to none other than Chelsea’s resolute catalyst, N’Golo Kante.
The French U18 international, who is incidentally 20-years-old, has one year left on his standing deal at the Ligue 2 club, and in order to gain more invaluable first-team experience at AJA, he even turned his nose up at the prospect of jumping ship to Tottenham Hotspur, a bold, sensible decision indeed in terms of his career development.
The Whites have supposedly watched and scouted Fomba on numerous occasions, and if he does in fact resemble anything like Kante in the engine room, then it would prove to be a very shrewd, intelligent move if Fulham proceeded to attain his exulted exploits for the foreseeable future.
Aden Flint – Bristol City
With Fulham trying and ultimately failing to lure him to Craven Cottage in January, a report published by Daily Mail suggests that Jokanovic has rekindled his infatuation with Bristol City’s hardy centre-half Aden Flint, as the Serbian boss vies to bolster his defensive regiment with new, capable recruits.
The 28-year-old was persuaded by the Robins to pen a contract extension in January which entailed that he would fundamentally stay at Ashton Gate until 2021, an arrangement that has also seen his valuation soar in the transfer market to signify his loyalty to the club and his sturdy, vigorous calibre.
A beloved asset at Bristol, Flint was seemingly on the cusp of a switch to Birmingham City last summer, although his aspiring employers managed to cling on to the ex-Swindon Town stalwart for another calendar year, but all could yet change given the right offer, approach and project, of course.
Andrija Zivkovic – SL Benfica
Dependent on promotion to the Premier League, ‘Joka’ identified SL Benfica’s trailblazing Andrija Zivkovic as a potential summer venture, and now that the Whites are gloriously a top-flight club once again, a report published by Club Call in March has suddenly become relevant again.
The report divulged that Fulham allegedly deployed scouts to gauge the searing 21-year-old’s performance against Martimo at the Estadio da Luz, an encounter which saw Benfica blast 5 past their vulnerable Liga NOS opponent without reply, a one-sided meeting where Zivkovic provided an assist and notched his third domestic goal of the campaign, so a glowing summary would have presumably been issued fairly promptly after the tie had run its rampant course.
Being a Serb, Zivkovic began his career at Partizan Belgrade, the club to which Jokanonic shepherded towards two double-winning seasons in 2008 and 2009. ‘Slav’, as we all know, is also a Serb, so it’s assumed that a familiar, natural connection could be formed between the pair in south-west London, a similar chemistry to the bond Jokanovic crafted with Mitrovic, perhaps.
Joe Bennett – Cardiff City
It’s thought that Fulham are monitoring the availability of Cardiff City’s Joe Bennett, who has a £2m release clause in his contract at the Bluebirds, however a report published by Wales Online suggests that Neil Warnock and company are reluctant to part ways with the 28-year-old left-back.
A reliable component of ‘Colin’s’ City contingent, which snagged second on the final day of the 2017-18 campaign after being prodded all the way by the Whites, evidently value the full-back as an indispensable member of the fold, and will look to retain his services for the coming 2018-19 season in the Premier League.
A rugged tackler – Manchester City’s Leroy Sane would reaffirm – Warnock claimed that Bennett supposedly turned down the opportunity to join the Whites last August, an alleged offer which was substantially more than what he was on at his current employers: “I put no pressure on him, it was down to him, he had the option. But he’s staying for less money he could have had, on his original contract with two years to go.”
Jordan Ayew – Swansea City
In order to reinforce the channels, Sky Sports disclosed that returning Premier League force Fulham allegedly lodged an £8m bid for Jordan Ayew of Swansea City, who were relegated from the top-flight in the previous campaign having languished for the majority of the calendar schedule.
The 26-year-old was the Swans’ top-scorer last season with 11 strikes to his name in all competitions, although his effectiveness and prowess in front of the target ultimately couldn’t spare him and his stuttering employers from the harsh, deflating drop to England’s second-tier.
Having previously been relegated with French outfit FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and Aston Villa, many are wary that Ayew could bring a despairing curse with him if he were to jump to the river from South Wales, but there’s no denying the Ghanaian winger’s searing, nimble adroitness along the channels, which would undoubtedly fit seamlessly into Slav’s tailor-made system at an exceedingly shallow price by today’s lofty, inflated standards.
Edmilson Junior – Standard Liege
Subject to a report published by Belgian outlet DH.be, Fulham are thought to be rivalled by fellow Premier League counterparts West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanders in the hunt for Standard Liege Winger Edmilson Junior, who is a shining talisman for the Jupiler Pro League club.
Edmilson, 23, clinically dispatched 11 goals in all competitions from the channels last term and it’s believed that the vibrant flanker’s manager, Michel Preud’homme, will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the Belgian-born Brazilian remains at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne for at least one more season.
English set-ups are not alone in the quest for his expertise, however, as it’s said that sides from the Serie A, including the likes of Fiorentina, Genoa and Sassuolo, are also hot on the industrious attacker’s dazzling heels, so if Craven Cottage is not to be for Edmilson, he’ll certainly grace a renowned arena somewhere on the continent if he departs his current surroundings, of course.
Gokhan Gonul – Besiktas JK
With Ryan Fredericks swapping the optimism of Fulham for the obscurity of West Ham recently on a free transfer, Jokanovic will presumably be scouring for a capable replacement, and it’s emerged – as per a report published by Turkish outlet Takvim (via Turkish Football) – that Besiktas JK’s Gokhan Gonul, a 33-year-old full-back, is supposedly on the club’s extensive wishlist.
An accomplished veteran of his profession, Gonul has amassed 65 caps for his nation, Turkey, and also provided 4 assists in 34 appearances last season, a record that proves that despite his age he’s still a productive figurehead on the turf.
But, as the Cottagers seemingly have a recruitment policy in place which disables them from signing players over the age of 28, the likelihood of the evergreen defender moving to the capital appear agonisingly slim, and as the Super Lig giants are said to want in excess of €4.5m for the former Fenerbahce SK man, it’s time to peruse the market elsewhere for a youthful individual at a more reasonable price.
Lucas Piazon & Tomas Kalas – Chelsea
Without forgetting that Chelsea duo Lucas Piazon and Tomas Kalas were in fact on loan at Fulham for two years, it’s still unfathomable to picture a Whites fold without the two Blues players but, in order to claim their respective qualities on a permanent basis, Daily Star understands that our beloved lodgers are ready to set them free for good, and Slav’ could land the instrumental double act for a bargain figure of £8m.
Valued and wanted at CC by the vast majority, Chelsea will supposedly hope to cash-in on the discarded pair in order to clear their books, and as stability is vital to a player’s development, it’s thought that the Brazilian craftsman and the Czech international will leap at the chance of migrating across SW6 for the foreseeable future.
Having been temporarily shipped out year in, year out since signing for Chelsea, Piazon and Kalas have plied their neglected trades across Europe for a roster of debatable forces, but as Fulham coherently tandem ambition and fluidity in their strategic ethos both on and off the pitch, an outright move from Stamford Bridge is undoubtedly conducive for their staggered careers, as the Cottagers exhibit a better brand of total football, obviously.