Jack Stroudley looks at our signing between the sticks.
If you’d have given me a list of positions with priority to focus on before the deadline tomorrow evening, a keeper would’ve been quite low down on that list. Alas, Fulham have confirmed the signing of Steven Benda from Swansea on a three-year contract for a fee of £745,000. There have been murmurings in recent days about Marek Rodak wanting to seek first team football with a loan to the Championship potentially on the horizon. As a result of this, Fulham needed to find a ‘back-up’ quickly.
The fact file
Benda’s youth career started out in Germany playing for 1. FC Heidenheim and TSV 1860 Munich before moving to Swansea City on a youth deal in 2017. The now 24-year-old clearly impressed earning a three-year contract in June 2019 before being sent out on his first loan to Swindon Town to play League Two football. Benda was a key starter for the Robins and played 27 times across all competitions during a campaign which ultimately saw Swindon Town win League Two.
The German keeper would then head back to Wales to deputise for Freddie Woodman for the 2019/20 season. Benda would get another loan move a season later to fellow Championship side Peterborough United and while he would only play nine league fixtures, he would certainly impress in those (a fixture at Craven Cottage springs to mind…) before heading back to Swansea once again where he played 21 times last season before picking up an injury.
A deeper dive
Across the top eight divisions, Benda is pretty low down for touches on the ball with just 33 per game. This could be down to how Russell Martin had Swansea City playing last season as the ball was a lot higher up the pitch for larger durations. He’s also solid at collecting crosses and has a 100% success rate (in the last 365 days) of saving penalties.
Going off of this, it’s clear to see that Leno is the much better keeper than Benda (as to be expected) but there’s still some stats to be excited about. His passing is high as well as defensive actions. That being said, his shot-stopping is worryingly low.
The final verdict
It’s not exactly a signing to get excited about but if Rodak is out the door a back-up keeper was necessary and I think for the fee paid there isn’t too much to complain about. Just under £750,000 for someone who has played regularly in the Championship, has impressed the fans of his former club and is still only 24, it’s a yes from me.