Ho-hum, nothing’s taken solid shape from our previous rumour supplements, but things are certainly beginning to hot up alongside the weather in the summer transfer period. In typical Fulham fashion, Tony Khan and his watchful band of recruiters have poked and prodded at likely targets and now, with pre-season preparations well underway, our first signings of the window can’t be that far from a long-awaited introduction to life by the river, can they?
This particular edition, as you’ll soon notice, comprises a wholesome batch of tried and tested Championship mainstays that will make a telling difference to the Whites’ fortunes. As it stands, we’re actually in fairly good form, personnel-wise, that is, but it’s evident that the fold requires further replenishment in certain departments. Perennially, we all stare vacantly into space waiting for our social media platforms to explode with a flurry of purchases, so this baron spate is nothing out of the ordinary.
Picture this: a relatively strong Fulham just lost 3-1 to Cambridge United and a youthful Whites XI drew 0-0 against Bromley. We, naturally, bemoan the tepid performances (even though it’s “nae bother”) and pine after investment. Three days after our opening training games, an electric feeling shoots down your spine as you feel your phone buzz in your pocket. You scramble for said pocket and frantically stab the screen with your quivering index finger and out of nowhere, accompanied by the frenzied thump of your strained ticker for suspense, three fresh faces are unveiled at once with jazzy effects, memes, and grins aglow. Could that sensation, perchance, be caused by any of these gents?
Pontus Jansson – Leeds United
A fiery character that leaves no prisoners whilst safeguarding his department, Pontus Jansson has been teetering on an exit from Elland Road after an alleged spat with Marcelo Bielsa and now, subsequently, journalist Phil Hay (formerly of Yorkshire Evening Post) disclosed on Twitter that Leeds United are supposedly ready to release the strapping Swede for just £5.5m to an unnamed English suitor.
Jansson, 28, has been heavily linked with a switch to Fulham, although it’s widely believed that the Cottagers’ Hounslow-based rivals Brentford are in pole position to acquire the centre-half’s signature. An announcement regarding Jansson’s future from Leeds’ hierarchy is said to be imminent, so fans from all involved parties are waiting with baited breath for the defining outcome. Imagine, a prtnship of Alfie Mawson and the Nordic general in the Championship. Somebody pinch or violently slap me.
Ezri Konsa – Brentford
Jansson’s potential departure from Leeds could be directly linked to Fulham’s supposed pursuit of Brentford’s Ezri Konsa, however. A report published by Sky Sports states that the Whites are hot on the England U21 international’s signature, albeit on a temporary basis, and if Jansson is to join Thomas Frank’s project at Griffin Park, Konsa could vacate his post at his current employers for Scott Parker’s Thameside revolution.
The versatile 21-year-old centre-back has two years left on his current Brentford contract and also has the option of penning a further year. Konsa’s standing deal allegedly hosts a £12m release clause, but if it were to be activated, it’s thought that the Bees has contractual protections in place, in order to hamper any proposed approach. Other than Fulham, Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers are also rumoured to be monitoring the former Charlton Athletic graduate’s availability.
Michael Hector – Chelsea
From one close adversary to another. Journalist Tom Barclay, posting on Twitter, understands that Fulham are tracking Chelsea’s Michael Hector, as they strive to revamp their dilapidated defensive ranks for the 2019-20 campaign. Seeking the expertise of proven Championship despots is vital, simply because there’s no environment on the planet that’s quite like England’s second-tier and Hector, who made 37 appearances for Sheffield Wednesday last term on loan, is more than equipped to withstand the strains and expectations of England’s gateway division.
The 26-year-old centre-back, despite being contracted to the Blues until 2020, has not represented the club since joining them in 2015 from Reading and is undoubtedly surplus to requirement at Stamford Bridge. Hector, other than the Owls, has previously been shipped out to Reading, Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt and Hull City, and is also a fully-fledged Jamaica international. Valued at Hillsborough, Wednesday are also prepared to contest for the defender’s disregarded skill set.
Charlie Austin – Southampton
With Che Adams and Danny Ings signing permanent contracts at St. Mary’s, Charlie Austin has been touted to bid farewell to Southampton this summer, with Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham all thought to be in the hunt for the former Queens Park Rangers hitman, according to The Sun. Dependable and industrious, the Saints allegedly value the 29-year-old at £8m, a reasonable price in today’s transfer climate, a fee that’s ultimately too tantalising to ignore.
Ralph Hasenhuttl and Austin have spoken openly about the striker’s future, and after three-and-a-half years on the south coast, it appears as though Austin simply doesn’t factor into the Austrian innovator’s blueprints for the coming Premier League season. Once a bricklayer, Austin helped pave the way for Southampton’s top-flight survival last term with a string of influential performances up top, and in Fulham’s perspective, he’d be excellent, capable competition for chief marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Martell Taylor-Crossdale – Chelsea
An aspiring attacker that was unjustly discarded by Chelsea (surprise, surprise), an article published by The Mirror suggests that Southampton, Bristol City and Fulham are poised to snap up the 19-year-old for free this summer. Renowned for his deadly prowess in front of the target, Taylor-Crossdale netted 35 goals in 52 appearances for Chelsea’s U18s and also notched 7 goals in 29 outings for their U23 set-up.
Currently without a club, the teenager is still a recognised England U20 international and his exploits in the penalty area contributed towards the Young Lions’ Toulon Tournament triumph two years ago. Taylor-Crossdale’s lethal tendencies subsided last season with only 1 goal in 15 appearances, although he’s still a sought-after offensive threat with a point to prove. Overseas, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are also believed to be primed to offer the youngster a fresh start on German soil.
Trevoh Chalobah – Chelsea
Another forgotten Chelsea gem, Trevoh Chalobah – subject to a Football Insider report – is supposedly on West Bromwich Albion’s and Fulham’s radars this summer, with both respective Championship clubs vying to snag his resourceful qualities on a season-long loan. Enduring a painful season at Ipswich Town last season, Chalobah was one of the Tractor Boys’ shining lights in the centre of the park – starting 35 of 44 domestic meetings – and the Blues are keen to develop the fledgling utility option further with another spell away from the dog track.
Comfortable in midfield and at a central defensive capacity, the younger brother of Nathaniel Chalobah has a prime opportunity to redeem his family name to the SW6 lodgers, and if he’s able to turn heads on a weekly basis, perhaps at Craven Cottage, Frank Lampard and co. would be utterly foolish if they opted to neglect the England U20 component next summer. Standing at 6ft 3in tall, Chalobah’s an imposing enforcer of his duties at the tender age of 19 and his footballing education has only really just begun. In that respect, being an ambitious collect, the Whites could offer him a worthy platform to truly flex his mettle, then.