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Grading Fulham’s 2023/24 signings

Written by Jack Stroudley on 24th May 2024

Alex Iwobi of Fulham celebrates scoring their second goal
Picture: Andrew Yates (Licenced via Imago Images)

Jack Stroudley rates all the signings from another successful Premier League season.

It’s that time of year again! Fulham have once again survived comfortably in the Premier League and despite a slight dip in performances over the last few months, a 4-2 win over Luton put us in a convincing 13th place. Throw in a first-ever Carabao Cup semi-final and memorable wins over Manchester United and Arsenal and I’d say this season has been a success.

The squad looked a little light coming into the season with reinforcements needed and with the owners once again taking heavy criticism from fans about our recruitment policy. That being said, Fulham brought in eight players across the summer and winter windows. As it’s become a yearly tradition I will be grading each of these signings to see how they fared this season and how important they were to a successful season.

Steven Benda

You’d be forgiven for forgetting that we’d signed Steven Benda at the end of the summer transfer window, but it did happen. Benda was signed for a reported £745,000 on a three-year deal from Swansea City. At the time there were murmurings that Marek Rodak wanted to find first-team football with Championship clubs sniffing around the Slovakian goalkeeper, the signing of Benda hinted towards Rodak’s departure.

That ended up not being the case and as a result meant that Benda spent the season out of the 18-man squads with just two Bristol Street Moors Trophy appearances for our U21 side. Despite not playing, it feels a bit harsh to call this signing a failure due to the relatively low fee. Benda performed well for Swansea City and will probably become our number two next season as I imagine Rodak will depart this summer on a free. Benda is going to receive a low grade, but not necessarily through any fault of his own.

Grade: E

Fode Ballo-Toure

A signing that came really out of the blue on the August Deadline Day was Fode Ballo-Toure. The Senegalese full-back initially rejected a move to Fulham earlier in the summer but AC Milan seemed keen for him to move on and Fulham snapped him up late to provide some well needed cover for Antonee Robinson. Ballo-Toure’s minutes have been few and far between this season with just 65 Premier League minutes across six substitute appearances.

Ballo-Toure also played in Carabao Cup wins against Norwich City and Ipswich Town with the latter of those producing his chant to the tune of CBeebies show Balamory. Ballo-Toure hasn’t really put much of a foot wrong in a Fulham shirt, but with Robinson having a campaign to remember, he’s understandably been second fiddle. If there was an option to sign him on a cheap this summer then I’d potentially have a look at it as I think he is a fine Premier League back-up.

Grade: D+

Timothy Castagne

If you’d have told me 12 months ago that Kenny Tete would barely get a sniff in this Fulham side, I’d have assumed that he was sold last summer. Instead, Timothy Castagne has come in from Leicester City and made that right-back position his own. ‘Timmy Chestnuts’ joined from the relegated Foxes for a reported £12m and immediately stamped his authority on on the first XI.

Castagne’s been known as ‘Mr Consistent’ with sixes and sevens dropped nearly every week. He’s an astute defender with an ability to drive up the pitch and cause problems in that attacking third when needed. A singular goal for Fulham this season came in last month’s defeat to Liverpool alongside assists against Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Tottenham. He’s been a very steady performer for Fulham this year and appears to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Grade: B

Calvin Bassey

I am indeed his biggest fan and I will follow him across the country. Calvin Bassey signed for Fulham early in the summer following a disappointing campaign for Ajax for an alleged £19m. Tim Ream was excellent last year but there was a feeling that if we were to improve, finding a long-term Ream replacement would be a good place to start. Calvin Bassey seems to have fitted that bill to a tee, while his passing can sometimes be sloppy his physicality and presence in the back four gives him quality in abundance.

Aged only 24, Bassey is only going to improve as he continues to develop under Marco Silva and with the club now looking for a Tosin replacement, we could end up with a really formidable centre-back partnership.

Grade: A-

Alex Iwobi

Coming in on the summer deadline day as the most expensive signing of the season, I was quite vocal around my concerns about the signing of Alex Iwobi but I have been gladly proven wrong. Signing for £22m, Iwobi has proven his ability to play a number of positions well with his ability to move the ball forward and create chances for others he is a very talented player that we are lucky to have on our books.

Iwobi ended the season with five goals and two assists all while missing a month due to AFCON, with the most important one coming late in the day at Old Trafford. Iwobi has shut me and any other doubters up and is someone who can be relied upon across the pitch in numerous positions.

Grade: B

Adama Traore

Adama Traore was signed from Wolves in early August on a free transfer following his release from Wolves and on paper seemed to be a pretty good signing. It took him a few months to overcome niggling injuries, but once fit, Traore offered a different option off the bench for Marco Silva with his strength and pace causing issues in numerous games. Performances away at Arsenal and Manchester United epitomised what Traore is best at.

There have been calls from some fans for him to start on a more regular basis and while he played and scored against Luton, I think he suits us better as an explosive option off the bench for the last 15-20 minutes. I think as a free transfer he’s been a good bit of business and a valuable option to have in the squad.

Grade: C+

Armando Broja

Broja signed from Chelsea on the deadline of the January window with a reported loan fee of up to £4m depending on how many games he played. When he signed from Chelsea, I don’t think anyone expected the resurgence of Rodrigo Muniz who took the second half of the season by storm. As a result of this, Broja’s minutes were extremely limited with just 81 minutes of football across the loan spell.

While Muniz’s form provides mitigating circumstances, Broja failed to set the world alight in a Fulham shirt and Chelsea’s £50m valuation of the Albanian striker will certainly be reduced after a loan spell to forget for him.

Grade: F

Raul Jimenez

My opinion of Raul Jimenez has changed multiple times across this season. Following his £5m move from Wolves in the summer, I was really not sure why we were bringing him in and for the first portion of the season, those concerns seemed to be well founded. The Mexican scored just one goal in his opening 14 appearances for the club before slowly finding form towards the end of 2023 with four goals in December (alongside a red card at Newcastle).

Similarly to Broja, once Muniz found his form it was difficult for Jimenez to find his place in the starting line-up with minutes proving hard to come by in 2024. He was given a bit of a chance towards the end of the campaign and a sitter missed at Brentford followed by a brace at Luton perfectly sums Jimenez up. Silva has stated in the past he likes to have three strikers at the club so having him as the third option next season (behind Muniz and Stansfield) is fine.

Grade: C

I think overall our transfer business has been OK this season. Following the departure of Mitrovic there was lots of criticism (myself included) around our recruitment but given we seemed to be close to breaking PSR rules, we have made some shrewd signings with the majority proving to have a positive impact.

We appear to have more funds at our disposal this summer and really need to kick on. I’m excited by what is to come for Fulham.

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