In his debut piece, Macsen Morgan asks the question on everyone’s lips: can we retain the services of our Israeli winger?
Manor Solomon is the man on form for Fulham at the moment. And back in his homeland the people are gripped by ‘Manormania’. But do we have the power to keep him here, or might he be drawn to one of the European giants?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Solomon made a lively, albeit short, debut against Liverpool on the opening day. But an injury in a behind-closed-doors friendly just days later meant we’d have to wait four months to see him in action again.
Although he was back on the pitch for the game against Chelsea, he really shone when he was brought on in the 72nd minute against Nottingham Forest, with the Whites one up. He famously slotted one past Navas to secure the three points, and continued to impress off the bench, grabbing goals against Brighton and Wolves.
After these brilliant displays, there were calls to start him, but Silva kept him on the bench, claiming Manor “didn’t have 90 minutes in his legs:”. But Solomon started in the FA Cup, first against Sunderland and then against Leeds in the fourth round. In the latter game, he linked up with Mitrovic to once again bend it past the keeper to seal a 2-0 victory. On his first Premier League start, he headed home the rebound from an Andreas free-kick in the derby game against Brentford.
His enforced absence and explosive return has arguably increased his value – definitely in our eyes as fans, but also in the eyes of the clubs wishing to sign him.
It’s not hard to see why so many clubs are interested; Solomon has elite attacking qualities not seen since Arjen Robben. His main position is on the left wing as it allows him to cut in and take shots on his stronger foot. Due to his small stature and physical presence, his play style focuses on a low centre of gravity and high speeds as well as good composure and dribbling to get past his opponents. He is also comfortable playing in central areas where he takes more of a playmaker role.
Can we keep him?
Given his incredible performances so far, Fulham fans and players will be very keen to have him stay at the Cottage permanently, but how likely is this outcome?
A deal was reportedly confirmed in the summer for a fee of around £7.5m. However, due to UEFA imposing new laws on Ukrainian clubs due to the Russian invasion, Manor Solomon took the decision to suspend his contract and come to Fulham on what is pretty much a free loan, as confirmed by Peter Rutzler on a recent Fulhamish Thursday club.
Although many other clubs are eyeing up his signature, Marco Silva says that “it cannot be a drama for us” and that they “have to face the decision” that they made in the summer. The main other rivals to FFC for the move are Tottenham and Arsenal who were revealed to be the main competitors by his wife in an Israeli news article. No matter how much he’s enjoying his time in SW6, it’s difficult to turn down Champions League football, and even harder if Arsenal win the Premier League and come knocking.
In the plus column, however, Solomon has said that he’s happy at Craven Cottage, and the Shakhtar Donetsk CEO has said that he thinks of Solomon as a Fulham player. While it’s a large possibility that larger clubs come for the Israel international, Marco Silva said that Fulham are willing to fight to keep him. Let’s hope it’s enough.