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Fulham Rumour Round-Up: Aaronson, Balogun, Musah

Written by Cameron Ramsey on 3rd July 2023

Cam returns for his weekly round-up of transfer whispers and murmurings – who’ll be the first player to arrive in SW6 this summer?

It’s July, people. Our 2023/24 home kit has arrived ridiculously early and it’s caused divide. We’re left in limbo on Marco Silva’s contractual situation, as well as Willian’s, and we’re yet to welcome any newcomers to London’s Originals but trust us, the pace is (surely) going to change rapidly.

Brendan Aaronson – Leeds United

One of Leeds United’s American cohort, Brendan Aaronson could be readying himself for an exit from Elland Road as it’s emerged – via Daily Mail – that Fulham are supposedly tracking the USMNT international, with Silva being an admirer of the attacking midfielder. At 22, Aaronson still has a lot to offer, especially in the Premier League, and due to a clause within the player’s contract at Leeds, he’s now free to leave on loan following the club’s relegation to the Championship.

Aaronson joined Leeds from Red Bull Salzburg last summer for £24m, and he was one of three American internationals brought in by Jesse Marsch before the manager’s dismissal. Aaronson’s technical ability is excellent; he carries possession with purpose but as he’s fairly lightweight, he is commonly overpowered and that’s something he’ll have to work on. Otherwise, in my opinion for a season at least, he’ll be a fine addition to the fold but many, understandably, have reservations.

Bryan Reynolds – AS Roma

A relatively unknown quantity, AS Roma’s Bryan Reynolds is said to be on Fulham’s transfer radar and the American right-back could be available for as little as £6m, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The three-time USMNT representative was purchased by Roma in February, 2021, however his spell at the Stadio Olimpico’s been less-than eventful.

He was loaned out to Belgian side KVC Westerlo last season and while he made 34 appearances. He’s only totalled eight outings for the Giallorossi in all competitions since his arrival from MLS, and it appears he has no future at the club under Jose Mourinho’s stewardship. Needless to add, but we can do so much better than Reynolds so I think we can put this one to the back of the pile and forget about it entirely.

Fode Ballo-Toure – AC Milan

Subject to an Evening Standard report, Fulham have allegedly earmarked AC Milan’s Fode Ballo-Toure as a potential summer acquisition, although it’s thought any proposed deal for the 26-year-old left-back hinges on whether Antonee Robinson departs SW6 or not. It’s not yet known if Robinson will remain at Craven Cottage next season and he is valued at £35m, or within that ballpark.

The Senegal international featured only 14 times for Milan during the 2022/23 campaign. He played second fiddle to the immovable Theo Hernandez, dislodging the robust Frenchman from Stefano Pioli’s plans was virtually impossible, but he is regarded as an energetic, forward-thinking full-back so if Jedi does head elsewhere, Ballo-Toure would slot into the Whites’ system ideally.

Folarin Balogun – Arsenal

Taking to his Twitter account, 90min’s transfer correspondent Graeme Bailey is under the impression that Arsenal have informed Folarin Balogun to search for a new team in the summer, with several clubs actively keeping close tabs on the 22-year-old’s immediate employment status. Bailey disclosed that Fulham are amongst the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Brentford, and Everton, as well as Lille OSC and Red Bull Leipzig.

Balogun was shipped out to Stade Reims on a temporary basis last summer and in 39 outings for the Ligue 1 side, the American forward netted 23 goals, making him one of the French top flight’s deadliest marksmen. This is absolutely the profile of striker we need to compete with Mitro; he offers a vibrant variation in his approach which differs from Aleksandar’s brute force and he definitely knows his way to goal. We may have to break the bank if we’re to land him, though, and in truth, our money could be better spent elsewhere, particularly in the defensive department.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea

Reliable source Jacob Steinberg penned a piece for The Guardian which outlined Fulham’s presumed interest in Chelsea’s unwanted winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. A summer clear out is on the cards at Stamford Bridge with Mauricio Pochettino planning for the upcoming campaign and Hudson-Odoi may very well be free to leave for £15m.

With just 12 months remaining on his contract with the Blues, Chelsea will want to offload “CHO” before he becomes a free agent next summer but the reported asking price, despite the fact he was once regarded as one of Europe’s hottest prospects, is still a tad steep. Basically, Hudson-Odoi has fallen off, for want of a better phrase. Loaned out to Bayer Leverkusen last term, he was used sparingly by Xabi Alonso amid injury setbacks and unknown absences, and his attitude is adversity’s always been questionable. He’s still so young but honestly, I just don’t think we’d suit him whatsoever and I don’t think his head would be in it if we were sucked into a dogfight.

Roger Ibanez – AS Roma

Italian outlet Siamolarama believe that Fulham are weighing up a move AS Roma’s Roger Ibanez. The centre-back is said to be surplus to requirement and it is not the first time the 24-year-old has been touted for a switch to English shores. Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United have previously been cited in the running for Ibanez but now, seemingly, Fulham are in with a fighting chance of luring him to the Cottage.

Rated at €30m, Ibanez will obviously not come cheap. The Whites could lose Tosin Adarabioyo in the coming weeks; Inter Milan are said to be hot on our 25-year-old defender and if he’s headed for the San Siro, Ibanez would be considered without question. The only drawback to the Brazilian is that he’s accustomed to a back three, rather than a back four, and if he cannot transition to Fulham’s set-up effectively, it could spell disaster for both club and player and that’s an expensive risk to run.

Iliman Ndiaye – Sheffield United

We all remember Iliman Ndiaye’s amazing solo goal against us at home a few years back, right? Well, The Star have revealed that Fulham are the freshest suitor in the bid to sign the Blades hotshot and having seen first-hand what the Senegal international’s capable of, we have to test Sheffield’s resolve.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side finished runners-up to Burnley last season, they’re a Premier League competitor once more and while they’ll fight tooth and bail to hold onto Ndiaye, it’s worth a punt. With 15 goals and 11 assists to his name as Sheffield were promoted, the productive attacker was his club’s attacking talisman by some distance, his output speaks for itself and the 23-year-old’s fiery determination’s hard to subdue. Everton tried and failed to sign him in January and by all accounts, they’re still keen. It’s a massive double thumbs up from me, so get the credit card out and dial that blower, Tony.

Yunus Musah – Valencia CF

Renowned football publication Goal have disclosed that Fulham will go all guns blazing for Valencia’s Yunus Musah this summer, but only if Joao Palhinha makes way for the USMNT midfielder. Reaffirming the Whites’ stance, The Sun maintain that the club will launch a €20m bid for the adjustable 20-year-old and at that price, we simply have to get it done.

A pivot of Palhinha and Musah would be epic. Versatility twinned with aggression, it’s a partnership devised by the footballing gods and Musah is no stranger to life in the capital, either. He progressed through Arsenal’s youth ranks in his formative years and he also represented England at schoolboy level, up until the U19s. Born in New York, Musah is now a fully fledged USA international, and is a trusted mainstay of Gregg Berhalter’s national selection, even at such a tender age. Is he one to watch? Yes. Should we pursue him at all costs? Absolutely.

Konstantinos Mavropanos – VfL Stuttgart

Another ex-Gunner, Konstantinos Mavropanos, is allegedly on Fulham’s checklist. This is according to German newspaper Bild, who state that Mavropanos is being monitored by the Whites as well as Nottingham Forest, and that Stuttgart will demand between €15-20m for the Greece international defender.

Forest’s Greek owner, Evangelos Marinakis, is an admirer of the 25-year-old centre-back but he is not alone. Fellow German side Eintracht Frankfurt have been mentioned alongside Serie A champions SC Napoli, so there’s notable competition for Mavropanos’s signature across the continent, not just within the Premier League. This isn’t a possibility that scintillates the senses, he may have developed nicely in the Bundesliga but I’m not entirely convinced. If the rest really want him, they can have him.

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