Will Gardner attempts to cheer us all up by highlighting the other top-flight clubs enduring a torrid summer break.
Well this summer has been a load of shit.
After finally stopping the rot and cementing our place in the Premier League for another season we all expected to have a fruitful summer with new signings, new contracts, new hopes. Well how wrong could we have been?
Who could’ve predicted that a country – not even a club, but a whole flipping country – would turn up and pull the rug from under us Fulham fans. The absolute determination by Saudi Arabia to rock up and ruin my summer has been relentless. I’ve not felt this hopeless scrolling Twitter since the Brexit results start rolling in, I wince every time White Noise retweets something as it usually involves another key component of the squad leaving.
We kicked off the summer with constant noise about West Ham going for Palhinha. We all laughed it off; why would he go to West Ham from Fulham? Oh they’ve got the Europa League? He was playing that with Sporting before making his way over to SW6, so don’t think so. After a barrage of noise about it, things started to die down as it became apparent we weren’t going to sell our most crucial player for anything less than £90m.
But then noise started rumbling from the Gulf State. They were having a look at our Manager. Our manager who may well be a genius, but he’s a genius in the last year of his contract and after being offered eye watering sums of money by a number of the teams over there, he sensationally turned them down to stay with the boys. Yet there are still no murmurs of new contracts…
Then there’s our star striker, who’s had his head turned by the thought of tripling his already inflated wage to live in air conditioned compounds where the only thing to do is walk around a glorified Westfield and eat in gender segregated restaurants. We quite rightfully asked for £50m, but Al Hilal wouldn’t budge, and are now planning on paying £150m for Osimhen or £300m for Mbappe. Maybe if we asked for £100m they would have been more interested. The rumours have now gone quiet and we have a miserable striker playing on a measly £100,000 a week.
Finally, when it seemed we’d weathered the storm of the Saudi rumour mill, out of nowhere we’ve been hit with the news that Willian is apparnetly off there, despite already having a summer of Willian rumours. Well he signed, and may still be off, just two weeks later.
Oh – also Tosin wants to leave, Palhinha popped out his shoulder and our best player in pre season was a 17-year-old right-back, filling in at centre-back.
It’s been a rough summer, boys and girls, and whoever else. It feels like we’ve been relentlessly attacked and we’re the only ones getting hit. But I just wanted to put my head above the parapet and see if any other clubs are going through the ringer like us. Fortunately, a couple others are also having a torrid time.
First of all, they’re skint. Despite being owned by a Saudi Arabian owner who has a stake in Al Hilal, they’re basically not spending any money this summer, even with a threadbare squad that brought them up from the Championship.
The real icing on the cake for them though has been the fact that their star player Iliman Ndiaye has now departed Yorkshire for his boyhood club of Olympique Marseille. This was all after discussing a new contract and having the kitchen sink thrown at him, receiving the number 10 shirt from club legend Billy Sharp and even filming a video for the club in which they actually have a ceremony of shirt swapping.
Just as they were getting ready to announce all this and bring some joy up to South Yorkshire, footage started being released of him celebrating, clutching flares, with OM fans down in Marseille as it became apparent he was about to sign for them. Causing surprise amongst many a Sheffield United fan and staff member.
He went for peanuts of what he should cost and they’ve already spent his £17m fee on bringing in an assortment of players, I’ve never heard of, despite wasting hours of my life on Football Manager.
Many have predicted Sheffield United to be one of the teams going down, and with only Oli McBurnie leading the line, it’s easy to see why.
In a similar vein to us, West Ham were optimistic heading into the window. They’ve just won a European trophy, they were about to receive a ton of cash for Rice, and they could look ahead to another season of struggling in the league, but battling in Europe. Unfortunately for them, they are currently the only team in the Premier League to have not made a signing and are being priced out of every transfer coming their way.
After long drawn-out saga of shouting about receiving £100m for Declan Rice, every team who they’ve tried to buy from has added another £10m to their price tag. They’ve been knocked back by us as they sent an embarrassing offer for Palhinha, and they pulled out of an attempt to sign James Ward-Prowse from Southampton as the new Sporting Director only wants to sign bargains.
The new man in charge of transfers, Tim Steidten, is reportedly clashing heads with David Moyes over how the signings should be made. Moyes wants players through the door and is willing to pay big for that, while Steidten is shopping of sale items, and is refusing to pay anymore than £25m for Ward-Prowse.
All of this while players are steadily moving away, like Rice and the rumoured Scamacca. So, not an ideal window so far for West Ham, and it could be a tough start to the season with Chelsea, Brighton, Man City and Liverpool all in their first six games.
Similarly to the Blades, Wolves don’t have a pot to piss in. This was confirmed by their chairman, who wrote a letter to fans yesterday detailing that essentially the club spent all their summer window money in January and they have to make do with what they have in order to pass FFP.
Among other paragraphs that refer to how the owners supported the squad when it was in the Championship and then through the pandemic, the chairman wrote:
“An additional factor to consider in our FFP management is that last January we invested much more highly in the first-team than we had anticipated, bringing in six players. It was a very unusual winter window for us, and it literally advanced the investment room originally left for this summer.”
This has naturally left the Wolves fans frustrated and with this info on top of the fact they are seemingly going to lose out on future England star, Bristol City’s Alex Scott, who is now rumoured to be off to Bournemouth and slashing any semblance of hope the fans had for this summer.
Because of this lack of activity, Julen Lopetegui is reportedly looking to leave and it’d be hard to imagine many decent managers would be willing to ply their trade with this scenario.
All in all, while we’re having a stinker of a summer, so are some other Prem teams, so strength in solidarity. Also Reading are in League One and are close to getting liquidated, which you absolutely love to see.
Clearly the footballing Gods thought we had too many highs over the past couple of seasons, so they’re knocking us down a peg or two. What would supporting Fulham be without these overwhelming frustrations? Ah well, I’ll still be in the Hammy End try to sink one more beer before kick-off, and I’m looking forward to seeing Silva ball, even if it’s just for one more season.