Jack Stroudley looks back some Fulham’s successful signings from previous January transfer windows.
So we’ve already had five Fulham winter signings to forget, but what about those to remember? The January transfer window is notoriously difficult to find long-term solutions with clubs often looking for short-term solutions for the remainder of the season. That being said, some of Fulham’s best players in recent history have come via the January transfer window and I’m going to go through them today.
Before I start there is one honorary player who didn’t make the cut. Pavel Pogrebnyak was the definition of a short-term solution with six goals in twelve appearances including a hat-trick against Wolves and a goal at Loftus Road. He was a good bit of business by the club… but not as good as the five on this list.
Brian McBride – 2003/04 (£800,000 from Columbus Crew)
One of a long-list of Fulmerica successes is Brian McBride after signing for Chris Coleman on deadline day 2004. He was an instant success scoring in his debut off the bench against Tottenham and seemed to grow from strength to strength. Scoring five goals in the remainder of the 2003/04 season before scoring nine in 2004/05 and 10 in 2005/06.
McBride was then Fulham’s top scorer for the 2006/07 season with 12 goals before being named Player of the Season and becoming club captain. On the opening day of the 2007/08 season, McBride would dislocate his knee in an injury which would see him out until January with Fulham in a relegation scrap. The American would score vital goals against Everton, Reading and Birmingham City aiding Fulham’s Great Escape. He was once again named Player of the Season before moving to Chicago Fire to finish his career.
Clint Dempsey – 2006/07 (£2.5 million from New England Revolution)
Probably the most famous name to come out of Fulhamerica and arguably Fulham’s most important Premier League player is Clint Dempsey. The American signed in January 2007 and steadily scored throughout his opening few seasons at the club. He would score one goal during the remainder of the 2006/07 season, six in 2007/08, seven in 2008/09, and then seven again in 2009/10.
Deuce’s most famous goal for Fulham came in that 2009/10 season with the infamous chip on that famous night over Juventus. The American would really find his form for Fulham during his final two seasons at the club with 12 goals in 2010/11 and 17 in the2011/12. Dempsey’s development and improvement in English football would soon draw the attention of Tottenham and in a move which left Fulham fans with a bitter taste in their mouth saw Dempsey jump to North London for £6m.
Dempsey would return to Fulham on loan during the 2013/14 season, but like that entire campaign he crashed and burned. After failing to make a name for himself at Tottenham, Deuce would move to Seattle Sounders to see out the remainder of his career.
Simon Davies – 2006/07 (£2 million from Everton)
The 2007 January window was a really prominent one for Fulham with Simon Davies also joining the club alongside the already mentione Dempsey. The Welshman would be a key member of the side over the course of six season becoming a dependable player for both Chris Coleman and eventually Roy Hodgson.
During his last few seasons he became one of the longer serving members at the club scoring 13 Premier League goals across 137 games. However, none of those goals would come close to his goal in the Europa League semi-final against Hamburg, and his strike in the final to level the game against Atletico Madrid. Scoring the biggest goal in Fulham’s history? Not bad for a bit of winter business.
Brede Hangeland – 2007/08 (£2.5 million from FC Copenhagen)
One half of the Thames barrier, Brede Hangeland goes down (for me) as Fulham’s best ever central defender in the Premier League, signing for Fulham to be reunited with former manager at Viking FK Roy Hodgson. Hangeland improved a shaky defence alongside Aaron Hughes with the two helping to steer the ship towards survival.
That partnership with Hughes would only grow from there with fantastic defensive displays helping Fulham to a record seventh placed-finish and despite rumours from Arsenal, the Norwegian was content at Fulham. He continued to be a brick wall at the back guiding Fulham to a Europa League final as well as regular mid-table finishes.
The wheels would start to fall off for Fulham as Hangeland came towards his tenure with Felix Magath forcing him to rub a block of cheese on his thigh in order to get fit for an upcoming game. He was released from the club in 2014 via email, a terrible ending for a terrific player.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – 2017/18 (loan from Newcastle United)
Look, it hurts that he’s gone, it really does, but there’s no denying that a certain loan move in January turned into something special for both Mitrovic and Fulham. The Serbian signed for Fulham at the eleventh hour of deadline day in January 2018 and would prove to be the final key piece for a side looking to return to the top flight.
Mitrovic would score 12 goals and help Fulham return to the Premier League before signing on a permanent basis in August 2018. His 11 Premier League goals weren’t enough to keep Fulham afloat as they were eventually relegated under Scott Parker. Parker remained in charge and the Serbian excelled in the Championship with 26 goals this time, Fulham would win the play-offs behind closed doors against Brentford.
The 2020/21 season was one to forget for Fulham and particularly the Serbian with Scott Parker refusing to correlate a lack of goals with playing both Ivan Cavaleiro and Josh Maja up-front ahead of Mitrovic. Fulham were once again relegated with Mitrovic only scoring three times.
Marco Silva then arrived and the rest was history, Fulham tore apart the Championship winning the league with the Serbian breaking the record for the most goals scored in the second division with a monumental 43 – but of course he couldn’t do it in the Prem right? How wrong those pundits were, Mitrovic netted 14 times during a season to remember for Fulham. A true modern great for the club, let’s just gloss over what happened next…