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12 players Fulham have sold for a profit

7th August 2023

In his debut piece, TJ Fogarty looks at the best outgoing pieces of business the club’s ever conducted.

When clubs buy younger players, a frequent factor considered in the transaction is the player’s resale value. It’s the reason why sell-on clauses exist as part of deals between teams. However, Fulham have often fallen short when it comes to selling players for more than their initial purchase value. This might all change this summer, with Tosin reportedly wanting a transfer away from the club. If that comes to fruition, Fulham are set to make potentially their largest profit under Shahid Khan’s tenure. So, here are 12 players that Fulham have sold for more than they paid (no no academy grads, folks).

12. Ross McCormack

Bought for: £11m
Sold For: £12m
Profit: £1m

Looking to make an immediate return to the top flight after relegation, Fulham splashed the cash to get the second tier’s top scorer, Ross McCormack, from Leeds United. The club also brought in his strike partner Matt Smith in an attempt to keep the chemistry intact that led to him snaring the Golden Boot.

While Fulham struggled as a team during his tenure, there’s little doubt that McCormack’s goals kept the club from plummeting down the EFL. McCormack won back-to-back Fulham Player of the Season awards, and in his last season at the club he finished runner-up in Championship Player of the Season voting, despite Fulham finishing just outside the relegation zone. He left the club in the same manner that he joined: bought by a newly-relegated team (this time Aston Villa).

11. David Button

Bought for: £1.9m
Sold For: £4m
Profit: £2.1m

Stumbling in from a bus stop somewhere in West London, Button joined the club in the summer of 2016, Button became the first choice ‘keeper for the beginning of Slavisa Jokanovic’s first full season as manager. However, in less than a season he lost his place to Marcus Bettinelli and spent one more season as back-up before moving to top flight side Brighton to man the bench there.

10. Pajtim Kasami

Bought for: £1.5m
Sold For: £4m
Profit: £2.5m

Scorer of arguably the greatest goal in Premier League history, Kasami joined the club from Palermo in the summer of 2011. The winger failed to make a significant impact in his first two seasons at the club, having to take a 50% cut to his wages to remain with the club for the 2013/14 season. Kasami became a casualty of Fulham’s mass exodus after relegation in 2014, leaving for Greek giants Olympiacos.

9. Steve Finnan

Bought for: £600k
Sold For: £3.5m
Profit: £2.9m

Arguably Fulham’s greatest-ever right back, Finnan joined Kevin Keegan’s side in November 1998 from Notts County. Finnan played a key part in both promotions over the coming years, featuring in every match but one of Fulham’s First Division title. In his first season in the Premier League, he was voted into the PFA Team of the Season as well as Fulham’s Player of the Season. After the 2002/03 season, he left the club for Liverpool, where he would go on to win the Champions League.

7 (joint). Jimmy Bullard

Bought for: £2m
Sold For: £5m
Profit: £3m

On 16 May 2006, in a now-rare bit of early business, Fulham announced the signing of Bullard from Wigan Athletic after they triggered his contract’s release clause. Hailed by Chris Coleman as “the best £2 million we’ve ever spent”, Bullard would feature 39 times in the Premier League for Fulham over his two-and-a-half year spell, scoring multiple beautiful free kicks and helping the team retain their Premier League status during the great escape season of 2007/08. Contract uncertainty the following season created an opening for Hull City to swoop in and sign him for a club-record transfer fee during the January window.

7 (joint). Ashkan Dejagah

Bought for: £2m
Sold For: £5m
Profit: £3m

Sold to Fulham by Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg, Dejagah joined the club at the end of the summer 2012 transfer window. Dejagah would go on to make 49 appearances for the club and reunite with Magath in our ill-fated 2013/14 campaign. Dejagah left the club as the fans’ Player of the Season, joining Qatari club Al-Arabi.

6. Luis Boa Morte

Bought for: £1.7m
Sold For: £5m
Profit: £3.3m

After a successful loan spell with Fulham that secured us the First Division title and promotion to the Premier League, our current assistant manager joined the club on a permanent basis in June 2001. Boa Morte would spend five and a half years in black and white, as we established ourselves in the top flight.

In 2005, he was given the captain’s armband, and rewarded the club’s faith in him the following spring, when he scored the winning goal against Chelsea. Boa Morte’s time with the club (as a player) would come to an end less than a year later, as he joined West Ham in the January 2007 transfer window.

5. Clint Dempsey

Bought for: £2m
Sold For: £5.7m
Profit: £3.7m

In December 2007, Fulham spent a then-MLS-record transfer fee to New England to secure the services of former Rookie of the Year Clint Dempsey. Dempsey joined fellow Fulhamericans Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, and his first goal for the club was the winner against Liverpool to help the club secure top-flight status.

In the following years, Dempsey would score perhaps the most iconic goal in the club’s history to secure a famous win over Juventus, as well as becoming the first American to reach 50 Premier League goals. After his most prolific season at the club, Dempsey became unsettled and Fulham were forced to sell him to Tottenham Hotspur. Dempsey did return to the club to make a brief cameo on loan from Seattle during the spring of 2014.

4. Chris Smalling

Bought for: Free
Sold For: £7m
Profit: £7m

Fulham brought in Chris Smalling from Maidstone United in June 2008. He’d have to wait until the final match of the 2008/09 season to make his senior debut for the club, a 2-0 home loss to Everton. In January 2010, Manchester United announced they signed Smalling, with him staying at Fulham until the end of the season. He would only make 19 appearances in his two years at Fulham, being left out entirely of the squad that lost to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final. His fortunes would dramatically change at Manchester United, where he would go on to have a very successful career.

3. Sone Aluko

Bought for: Free
Sold For: £7.5m
Profit: £7.5m

Joining on a free transfer from Hull before the 2016/17 season, Sone Aluko would spend his lone season at the club making important contributions along the front line, scoring eight goals and assisting three times during Fulham’s Championship campaign that ended in a playoff defeat to Reading. Aluko would also make four appearances in August at the start of the following season before being sold to the Royals. This is the largest profit the club has made on a player brought in during the Khan years, and it turned out to be a shrewd sale as Fulham were promoted that season via the play-offs while Aluko and Reading barely survived relegation.

2. Mousa Dembele

Bought for: £5m
Sold For: £15m
Profit: £10m

One of the most talented central midfielders to ever call Craven Cottage home, Dembele joined from AZ Alkmaar in August 2010 after declining a move to Birmingham City. The Belgian made 75 appearances for Fulham in his two seasons at the club, impressing fans with his ability on the ball. Martin Jol even described him as “the best player on the ball I’ve ever seen”. Dembele’s talent would raise the interest of several big clubs, with Tottenham triggering his release clause at the end of the 2012 summer transfer window.

1. Louis Saha

Bought for: £2.1m
Sold For:£12.4m
Profit: £10.3m

Compared to Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry by manager Jean Tigana upon his arrival at Fulham in 2000, Saha’s 27 league goals helped power Fulham to the First Division title during his debut season. During his three and a half year spell at the club, Saha became Fulham’s main man up top, scoring the goals that sealed the club its first taste of European silverware. His 13 goals in the first half of his last season with the club was a single-season record for Fulham that wasn’t beaten until Clint Dempsey came along almost a decade later. That form caught the eye of Sir Alex Furguson, though, and Saha forced a move away to Manchester United in January of 2004.

The money from the sale was used to fund the construction of the new Hammersmith and Putney ends as the Whites returned to the Cottage after a two-year exile at Loftus Road.

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