Fulham are home from their pre-season trip to Evian-les-Bains, and after being swept aside 3-0 by Fenerbahce and 4-0 by Olympique Lyonnais, it’s crystal clear to see that the squad needs a slight revamp, although as any ardent Whites fan would tell you, there’s no reason to panic just yet as they’re friendly matches after all. Cameron Ramsey gives you the lowdown on the latest links.
Squaring up to high-class Champions League seeds has abruptly wrenched our eyes wide open. As ever, Slavisa gave the youth an experience-gaining runout in pre-season, but as they’re still developing in their respective departments, our Serbian leader evidently needs experience, maturity and a fair amount of mental and physical brawn in his set-up, rather than unproven exuberance, if we’re to prosper amongst the cream of the crop next term.
Well, it’s a damn good thing that we’ve got you covered once again, isn’t it? It seems an age ago since we snatched Maxime Le Marchand and Jean-Michael Seri from OGC Nice, and with the transfer window nearing deadline day at an alarming rate of knots, the south-west Londoners will have to move pretty briskly if they’re to finalise they’re prime targets and integrate them into the system. Perhaps a few of these distinguished ballers will be unveiled in the next week or so before our next extensive instalment? There’s still hope for us all yet, although we can’t hear any alarm bells anyway.
Wilmar Barrios – Boca Juniors
According to Colombian outlet Marca Claro, Fulham are allegedly prepared to activate Boca Juniors midfielder Wilmar Barrios’ £16m release clause, although the Whites will supposedly face competition from Tottenham Hotspur and Everton amongst others in the hunt for his signature.
A cutthroat, rugged midfielder, Barrios was part of Colombia’s 2018 World Cup squad that encountered England in the last-16 of the tournament and should have received a red card, quite frankly, having headbutted Jordan Henderson whilst safeguarding a set-piece.
Joining Boca in 2016 from Deportes Tolima, Barrios, 24, has become an integral component in the Argentine giant’s midfield, patrolling in front of the back four studiously and disrupting threatening phases of play, the fiery enforcer would undoubtedly marshal Fulham’s midfield with a dogged, relentless ethic and attitude, even if he’s seen to be an unpredictable character with his sporadically irrational nature on the turf.
Gonzalo Martinez – River Plate
As per a report provided by Calciomercato, Fulham, alongside Spurs, Everton, West Ham United and Italian Serie A outfit Lazio are said to be contenders in the battle for River Plate ace Gonzalo Martinez, after news emerged that the vibrant left-winger’s agent, Marcelo Simonian, recently visited England to presumably hold pressing discussions over his in-demand client.
The 25-year-old Argentinian, who incidentally holds an Italian passport, also has a €15m release clause in his standing contract at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, having jumped from Huracan to Los Millonarios in January 2015.
Martinez is a valued River Plate representative and has netted 23 goals in 128 outings for the Argentine titans and was also part of their triumphant 2014-15 Copa Libertadroes fold, a greatly admired accolade in terms of South American competitions.
David Lopez – RCD Espanyol
The Cottagers’ rearguard is crying out for depth and assurance and David Lopez of RCD Espanyol is a name that’s been touted for a potential summer switch to Craven Cottage, however the Daily Mail understands that the newly promoted Londoners may have to stump up a staggering £35m if they’re to persuade the robust Spaniard to leave La Liga in the coming weeks.
Lopez is Espanyol’s leader and captain and is understandably an invaluable protagonist at the RCDE Stadium, meaning that any vying party will seemingly have to pay through the nose if they’re serious in their pursuit, but as we all know, the modern transfer market is a lucrative environment laden with inflation and extortion.
Lopez’s stature may demand a particularly substantial fee, of course, as his uncanny adaptability makes him a hugely beneficial professional in the defensive quarters, and as he’s plied his proficient trade at SSC Napoli, most notably, the 28-year-old will ultimately bring security and reliability in abundance, having played at the summit of the Italian and European game previously.
Kevin Mbabu – BSC Young Boys
Subject to a report issued by Sky Sports, Fulham are thought to be keen on snagging BSC Young Boys full-back Kevin Mbabu, formally of Newcastle United, however the Whites will allegedly have to swat off FC Basel’s advancements if they’re to secure the searing Swiss’ resurgent services.
It’s said that Basel have lodged a £7m offer for the 23-year-old, although it’s believed that Young Boys are holding out for at least £10m for the trailblazing right-back, who was remarkably clocked as the planet’s second fastest player behind Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale in 2017.
Mbabu initially penned a loan deal at the Bern-based side two years ago from the Magpies after failing to make a lasting impression at St. James’ Park, but after aiding his current employers in their victorious search for a first league title in 32 years last season, the Whites could table a sufficient offer as they scour for a worthy replacement for the tireless Ryan Fredericks, who left the Cottage for free in the summer for the Hammers.
Cristian Portu & Juanpe – FC Girona
A fresh double swoop could be on the cards for Fulham as a report published by Spanish outlet AS Diario suggests that various clubs in England, including the Whites, could mount a siege for FC Girona’s Cristian Portu and Juanpe after La Liga club travelled to Manchester for a series of friendlies against Bolton Wanderers and Oldham Athletic.
Portu, an intricate attacking midfielder, could deputise the right flank down by the river due to his direct, expansive tendencies on the ball, although the 26-year-old’s definitely most effective behind the focal marksman, as his vision and distribution in dangerous areas are key factors within his locker, having provided 14 assists during his 2 year spell at the Blanquivermell.
Juanpe, a sturdy 27-year-old centre-half, would certainly gift Slav’ more rotational options in the heart of the defence and having featured in 35 domestic fixtures for Girona in the previous campaign, the strapping centre-back is fundamentally capable of performing on a weekly basis in the matchday compliment if required to do so.
Andre Schurrle – Borussia Dortmund
An astounding revelation has arisen from North Rhine-Westphalia as German outlet Sport Bild has revealed that Fulham and Crystal Palace are both allegedly chasing Borussia Dortmund’s 2014 World Cup winner Andre Schurrle, who is apparently free to leave the Signal Iduna Park.
The 27-year-old, as we know, was once on Chelsea’s books between 2013 and 2015 and even bagged a hat-trick against the Whites in 2014, but as he’s accustom to life in the English capital, a fresh start at the Blues’ local rivals isn’t too much of a far fetched possibility.
Schurrle left BVB’s training base in America on Saturday and was duly unused against Manchester City on Saturday evening and the Bundesliga superpower’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, stoked the engulfing flames surrounding a potential exit with this alluring statement: “We openly discussed the situation with him. That we have many options in the positions, that the plans also go in a different direction,”
Jack Grealish – Aston Villa
Despite Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and investor Wes Edens purchasing a controlling stake, Aston Villa will still have to sell if they’re to comply with Financial Fair Play ruling, and according to a report published by the Mirror, Fulham and Crystal Palace are both supposedly vying to rival Spurs’ quest for Jack Grealish.
The north-Londoners are planning to lure Grealish, 22, to the club’s lavish new ‘toilet bowl’ next season to test Dele Alli’s reserve in the starting line-up as the 21-year-old England star, who suffered a debilitating injury in Russia for the Three Lions, needs to be pushed to the limit if he’s going to flourish further as a future prospect of the English game.
Tottenham’s shrewd chairman Daniel Levy supposedly stalled on an initial move for the temperamental Villa playmaker as he wished to lower the asking price, but as the Claret and Blues have to relinquish their exceedingly lofty wage bill, it’s thought that a shallow figure could indeed be met, meaning that the tailing trio of top-flight outfits are all in with a credible shout in their own respective ventures.
Yannick Bolasie – Everton
Yannick Bolasie’s future at Everton is in jeopardy and a host of Premier League counterparts including Leicester City, Palace and the Whites are all said to be circling Goodison Park with the intention of nabbing the seemingly surplus winger, as per a report issued by Liverpool Echo.
The dynamic Congolese international’s career at the Toffees has been blighted by strenuous spells on the physio’s table and it’s believed that new boss Marco Silva could be influenced into flogging the 29-year-old as he prepares to write a glittering chapter of his own on Merseyside.
The Whites are actively seeking an adroit right-winger and Bolasie, who’s utterly impossible to contain when firing on all cylinders, would definitely reinvigorate the club’s offensive regiment if he can successfully stave off fitness hindrances, however a return to the familiarity of Selhurst Park for the Eagles could be all too tempting for the wideman, who’ll be hoping to return to the height of his abundant ability as soon as possible.