Ajax’s Mexican defensive midfielder Edson Alvarez has been a critical target for German giants Borussia Dortmund since the 2022/23 season came to an end, and a deal was looking likely for the player to swap the Eredivisie for the Bundesliga. However, the move broke down at the last minute, and this could be good news for Fulham ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
A piece of a bigger puzzle
West Ham, who are set to lose captain and key midfielder Declan Rice to Arsenal imminently, are one of many clubs who had an eye on Alvarez, with the Hammers feeling he could replace their outgoing talisman. West Ham were believed to be one of the frontrunners for the 25-year-old’s signature, but when the deal with Dortmund was close, they turned their attention to Fulham’s Joao Palhinha, a player the Cottagers don’t want to and can’t afford to lose.
Looking realistically at Premier League betting, it’s evident that every club will level up next season, which means Fulham will have to as well if they want to, at the very least, repeat last term’s achievements. The odds suggest this will be the case, but the task will be made much more challenging if Palhinha, one of the club’s top performers, was to leave Craven Cottage before the new campaign begins. But now Alverez’s move to Dortmund is officially off, with the German outfit signing Felix Nmecha instead, it means the Portuguese midfielder leaving is looking less likely.
A sigh of relief?
If Rice joins Arsenal as expected, and Alvarez indeed heads to West Ham as his replacement, Fulham manager Marco Silva can begin to build on the success of last season with one of his key players still in place. There’s undoubtedly work to do on the squad to add more quality, even in the midfield department, with Fred a reported target for the club. The Brazilian, who has a lot of top-flight experience, would immediately add that quality, and he’d undoubtedly complement Palhinha and how he goes about his business.
But, rather than it being players that Fulham bring into the club that could prove to be the best business they do this summer, it’s highly likely to be a case of the best business being to hold onto the likes of Palhinha. The Cottagers had Manor Solomon on loan last term and would’ve liked to have made his switch permanent, but the winger chose to move to Spurs instead.
However, retaining the likes of Palhinha, Aleksandar Mitrovic, and others is going to be the foundation for success. And if Fulham can add on top of that, which they undoubtedly will, they could go again and potentially match or even eclipse their tenth-place finish of last term. It’d be some achievement, especially when many tipped the club to be battling relegation on their return to the Premier League, which never proved to be the case at any point.