From sought-after stocking fillers to crudely-wrapped tat, Fulhamish’s first January Transfer Rumour Round-Up really does have it all and trust us, there’s a lot to unpack.
The World Cup’s nearly over, club football returns on Boxing Day, and to get you in the mood we’ve gathered all Fulham-centric gossip and compiled it for your leisure in the countdown to Christmas. The mid-season transfer window’s the gift that keeps on giving, it’s frantic, berserk, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rick Karsdorp – AS RomaEmbed from Getty Images
Speculation surrounding Kevin Mbabu’s short-lived stay at Fulham has been amplified in recent weeks and according to Italian publication Leggo (via RomaPress), the Whites have submitted an initial offer of €8m to prise Rick Karsdorp from AS Roma, a bid which has allegedly been rebuffed by the Serie A side.
Managed by Jose Mourinho, the Giallorossi laid their hands on the inaugural UEFA Conference League trophy last season and Karsdorp, a former Eredivisie title-clinching right-back with Feyenoord, has only featured sparingly this season, nine times across all available competitions. The 27-year-old does have three caps for the Netherlands, though, so he has been tried and tested in varying circumstances and a fresh start could revive his career both at club level, and internationally.
Pablo Maia – Sao Paolo
Subject to a 90min report, a three-way bust-up between Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Fulham is set to ensue for Sao Paolo’s central defensive midfielder Pablo Maia. Maia is entering the final nine months of his contract and, as we’ll discover shortly, he could be one of a number of bright young talents to depart the Cícero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium in the new year.
Maia, 20, is a hard-hitting holding midfielder that also shepherds possession progressively, and his performances for Sao Paolo have naturally attracted notable interest from across the globe. An aspiring player like Maia will need nurturing if he’s to move to either of the aforementioned Premier League teams but already, his skill set is accomplished enough to withstand a hardened environment such as the Brasileirão and he shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Franck Kessié – FC Barcelona
Despite joining FC Barcelona last summer on a four-year deal from AC Milan, Ivory Coast international Franck Kessié could very well be headed for the exit door at the Camp Nou and 90min understands that Aston Villa, Spurs and indeed Fulham are monitoring the midfielder’s state of employment.
Kessié supposedly earns £220,000-per-week in Catalonia, he joined the Blaugrana with high hopes but he hasn’t forced himself into Xavi’s regular matchday plans. He’s made five starts for Barca, he’s currently out of action with a thigh strain but it’s ultimately thought that the 25-year-old has no intention of leaving and his employers are also reluctant to part ways after such a broken introduction to life in La Liga. Hearsay declares that a sum of £20m could tempt Barcelona to sell, however, but is that really value for money, given the player’s lack of game time and injury likelihood? We’ll leave it up to you to deliberate.
Stefan De Vrij – Inter MilanEmbed from Getty Images
This rumour’s been knocking around since late September but it’s made the cut simply because it would be absolutely mental if we somehow managed to pull it off. As reported by FC Inter News (via Sport Witness), Fulham have supposedly contacted Stefan De Vrij’s representatives concerning a possibly switch to SW6, and while the Dutch centre-half is hoping to commit himself to Inter Milan, it’s said he isn’t fully against the idea of turning out for the mighty Whites.
Inter are in financial turmoil and have frozen contractual talks with De Vrij. Further reports have since surfaced and now, Tottenham are frontrunners in the hunt for the 30-year-old’s signature but you should never underestimate the power of Fulham’s negotiators. It’s wishful thinking, but De Vrij would look so good in the famous black and white, as he ploughs through Richarlison’s spindly shinbones.
Tetê – Shakhtar Donetsk
Two Tetes is better than one, so they say, and subject to a report released by The Sun, Fulham are tracking Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian Tetê, who is incidentally spending the current campaign on loan at Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In 13 domestic outings for Lyon, the 22-year-old right winger has netted five goals alongside three assists, and his parent club, Shakhtar, value their man at £25m, which actually seems fairly economical, given his return in France to date. It’s said that Shakhtar will seek to cash in on Tetê during the January transfer period and who at Fulham could ever stand between Kenny being unified with a fellow namesake? Headlines have already been written – Tony Khan and co. have to get this done.
Kim Min-Jae – SC Napoli
Featuring at the 2022 FIFA World Cup for South Korea, Min-Jae showcased his solid capabilities on a global scale but even before the tournament’s commencement, the defender was turning heads as he safeguarded Gli Azzurri to the summit of the Serie A standings. Commanding, astute, he’s integrated into Luciano Spalletti’s blueprints flawlessly and understandably, Napoli will fervently refuse any offer that comes their way for the towering defender.
Ben Brereton Diaz – Blackburn RoversEmbed from Getty Images
Having supposedly seen late bids for Ben Brereton Diaz declined by Blackburn Rovers in the summer, Fulham are still associated with a mid-season swoop for the prolific Chile international and in order to stave off a January bidding frenzy, the Lancashire Telegraph details that Rovers are hoping to button the striker down with a contract extension.
Brereton Diaz’s contract runs dry in the summer of 2023 and the 3rd-placed Championship side are in jeopardy of losing their talisman for nothing if he decides against putting pen to paper. In a season where Aleksandar Mitrovic bagged a historic haul of 43 Sky Bet goals, Brereton Diaz, registered a highly respectable tally of 22 during the 2021/22 campaign and this term, the 23-year-old’s mustered nine goals in 22 outings, with three assists. Would the Stoke-born South American gunman make the grade as Mitro’s effective understudy? In a word: yes.
Cedric Soares – Arsenal
As alluded to previously, Fulham may go shopping for a right-sided full-back to replace Mbabu and one potential candidate that’s been mentioned and verified by Metro is Arsenal’s Cedric Soares. The Whites will attempt to lure the 31-year-old from north London to SW6 on a permanent basis and I can see no obstacles in this becoming a reality in the weeks to come.
Soares has been limited to match action under Mikel Arteta this season and the promise of much more frequent involvement at the Cottage could be all it takes to get talks moving in the right direction. The Portuguese defender is also represented by Kia Joorabchian, and this is significant because the agent helped Willian to secure employment with Fulham during the summer, so it’s assumed that Joorabchian and the club’s hierarchy share a profitable relationship where negotiations are concerned. Vast Premier League experience, another to add to the Portuguese contingent, I like the prospect of this very much.
Igor Gomes – Sao Paolo
This guy goes by the moniker ‘the new Kaka’. He’s been linked with £23m moves to Liverpool and Barcelona in the past and according to Globo Esporte, Igor Gomes is being watched closely by both Fulham and Nottingham Forest.
His deal at Sao Paolo expires in March, 2023, and there doesn’t appear to be any sign of him staying on at the Brazilian outfit. At 23, Gomes is no longer considered to be a prodigy and having only 10 goals, 17 assists in 199 appearances for Tricolor, he’s barely a consistent game changer, either. I think we’ll leave this one as it stands.
Ryan Kent – RangersEmbed from Getty Images
It’s Football Insider’s belief that Fulham are mulling over a proposed offer for Rangers’ Ryan Kent. The tricky 26-year-old winger’s contract at Ibrox ends next summer, which would make him a free agent, so Rangers will be reluctant to lose him without compensation.
A graduate of Liverpool’s heralded academy, Kent set the Europa League stage alight last season as his side reached the final but this season, his form’s flitted between productive and ineffective. In 13 Scottish Premiership games, Kent has 6 assists and just one solitary goal, and though scoring isn’t his primary objective, his application’s warranted scrutiny from fans and pundits alike. Personally, I still think he’d make an excellent addition, even at a lessened capacity, so I’d like us to maybe explore this further once we’ve addressed other areas of concern within the camp.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are no different. They both left Crystal Palace for big money and upon their respective arrivals at Manchester United, they both disappointed. TEAMtalk exclusively revealed that United manager Erik ten Hag doesn’t see an immediate future at Old Trafford for Wan-Bissaka and in light of the player’s disposability, Fulham and his childhood club Palace will trade blows for the out-of-favour right-back.
It’s not yet known whether the 25-year-old will wave farewell to the Theatre of Dreams on a temporary or permanent basis, but as the Eagles tried to re-sign the fullback they’d let go for £50m in the summer of 2022, all conceivable eventualities regarding every possible scenario will be intriguing to say the very least. To Selhurst Park, the Cottage or even beyond, the journey surely won’t be a straightforward affair.