Joachim Andersen: A true transfer success story

Charles Jones 1st February 2021

Charles says our Danish centre-back stands out as proof that signing late isn’t always a bad thing.

If there’s one thing the Fulham fanbase can’t seem to agree on its transfers.

For some, Tony Khan pulled off three of the bargains of the summer when signing Antonee Robinson, Tosin Adarabioyo and Kenny Tete for a cumulative total of £10m, while others believe that our Director of Football left us in the lurch by leaving it too late and seemingly failing to recruit a striker.

The reality of the situation is probably somewhere in the middle, but one thing we can’t deny is that our recruitment team got it spot on with the signing of Joachim Andersen.

The catalyst of our transformation

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There’s no question that this Fulham team is a different side to the one we saw at the start of the season, and while our points tally isn’t anywhere near where we’d want it to be, our ability to keep the ball out of the net has to be commended.

Fulham’s defence has been transformed in recent months, and while Scott Parker, Tosin and Alphonse Areola deserve massive credit for that, Joachim Andersen has to be considered the biggest catalyst for this transformation. Ans as much as he’s been brilliant on the pitch, his performances are also a testament to the club getting it right behind the scenes.

It took the Dane just one game to help Fulham to their first league clean sheet of the season, and in his fourth appearance he was already wearing the captain’s armband, a role that he doesn’t look like relinquishing anytime soon, with Tom Cairney out of action for the foreseeable future, and Andersen taking the armband over Aleksandar Mitrovic on Saturday.

However, it very nearly didn’t turn out this way.

Summer scramble

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It was blindingly obvious that we needed a centre-back this summer.

A defensive pairing of Tim Ream and Michael Hector shipped 10 goals in our opening three games, and after a thrashing by Aston Villa, our Director of Football promised us a new players in a now infamous tweet, and regardless of what you think of him, it has to be said that he delivered on that promise.

We all know now that Andersen was eventually the answer to our prayers, but it’s easy to forget that our recruitment drive almost went in a very different direction.

The likes of Marlon Santos, Jean-Clair Todibo and Timo Baumgartl were targeted, and if it weren’t for a failed medical, a better bid from Benfica and a late U-turn, they would have signed.

Luckily for Fulham, Andersen was the man who came through the door, and we’re so lucky that he did.

Best of the bunch

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So, what of our three missed targets? How are they getting on?

Marlon has started just six Serie A games in Sassuolo side that have conceded 27 league goals this term.

Todibo is faring even worse at Benfica, he hasn’t played a minute all season in the league for Benfica and there were reports in Portugal claiming that the Lisbon outfit were going to send him back to Barcelona this month after Jorge Jesus had complained about his physical and tactical shortcomings.

For Baumgartl it’s a similar story to Marlon, he’s played just 377 Eredivisie minutes for PSV this term, seemingly unable to impress his manager.

It’s fair to say that Andersen has turned out to be the best of the bunch, he’s transformed our defence and he regularly captains the side.

A lesson to be learned

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Here we are, the final day of the transfer window has come around again, and as you could probably have guessed, by now we’re all getting a bit antsy about our lack of movement.

Indeed, despite Scott Parker repeatedly saying he would like a striker, we haven’t yet got our man, despite reportedly making attempts to bring in the likes of Mbala Nzola, Boulaye Dia and Josh Maja (the latter looks like it’s close).

It looks like it could be another deadline day job for Tony Khan and his recruitment team, but as we showed in the summer, that’s not always a bad thing.

Imagine if we had pulled the trigger early and signed one of Marlon, Todibo or Baumgartl earlier in the window, we may never have landed Andersen, and it’s frightening to think where we’d be if we hadn’t signed the giant Scandanavian, even if we’re not currently in the best of positions.

Players like Andersen aren’t usually available early in the window. After all, this is a man who was Lyon’s record signing 12 months ago, but our patience allowed us to pull off a last-minute deal for a defender that may well hold the key to keeping us up.

Right now, nobody knows what the final hours of the transfer window will bring, and while Scott Parker’s comments after West Brom didn’t fill any of us with confidence, there is reason to believe that waiting until the last minute could see us land a player who can transform our fortunes at the other end of the pitch in the same way Andersen improved our defence upon his arrival.