Fulham have gained a reputation over the past few seasons of buying shrewdly in the market, although the club is not afraid to spend money should it deem it necessary, such as the purchase of Bryan Ruiz for £10.5 million.
Most of Fulham’s success in the transfer market has been buying good quality players like Moussa Dembele (£5 million), Brede Hangeland (£2.5 million) and Clint Dempsey (£2 million) who are inexpensive but with the quality to recoup any investment should the club need it.
This season will see Fulham continue this policy as they rebuild following the departure of club stalwart, Danny Murphy who has joined relegated Blackburn Rovers on a free and the likely loss of forward Clint Dempsey who is the subject of a reported £7.5 million deal from Liverpool.
So far this summer, Fulham have already brought in Mladen Petric from Hamburg to cover the loss of Andrew Johnson who moved to QPR on a free. With Dempsey expected to move soon, Fulham manager Martin Jol will be on the lookout for more options up front whilst bolstering his midfield and defence.
Martin Jol will probably be happy with most of his defensive options; he has four settled centre backs of proven premiership quality and in John Arne Riise and Zdynek Grygera, two full backs who have played at the highest levels in European football. There are doubts over the quality of Chris Baird which may force Jol back into the market to ensure a decent amount of depth to his defensive options. Already he has brought on the Cologne full back, Sascha Riether on loan and may look to bring in another young full back on a permanent deal.
In midfield Fulham will need to replace Danny Murphy who enjoyed an Indian summer to his career over the last few years at Fulham becoming a key man for the cottagers.
Replacing the former Liverpool midfield man will be a tough ask and Jol might return to his old haunt to raid Tottenham Hotspurs for Tom Huddlestone, as he looks to plug the gap in his squad. Huddlestone, 25, played only four games for Spurs last season in an injury ravaged season and has a year left on his contract. A less expensive option in central midfield is Tomas Sivok who is highly desired by both Fulham and Everton. The 28 year old defensive midfielder can also play in defence although given Fulham’s options there is unlikely to be necessary.
Youngster Fraser Fyvie is attracting a lot of attention from premiership clubs after the 19 year old refused to extend his contract at Aberdeen. During the January transfer window, Aberdeen boss Craig Brown slapped a £5 million price tag on the teenage prodigy after Fulham had bid £1 million for the youngster’s services.
With only a year to run on his contract and after publicly declaring his desire to leave Aberdeen his likely transfer fee has plummeted to only £500k. Aberdeen’s only hope for reasonable compensation for their academy product is that Norwich’s reported interest materialises and starts a bidding war between the two premiership clubs.
Fulham look set to lose last season’s ‘Player of the Season’ Clint Dempsey to Liverpool and have already lost striker Andrew Johnson to QPR on a free transfer and will need to reinforce their forward line ahead of the new season. Jol only has new signing Mladen Petric and Bryan Ruiz to call on up front and will be keen to add one or two strikers to back them up with his focus likely to be on up and coming youngsters.
There are few youngsters in England that are creating as much of a stir as Jordan Rhodes, the Huddersfield striker who scored six hat-ricks on his way to 40 goals last season. The 22 year old English born Scottish international has had an £8 million price tag slapped on him by Huddersfield after they gained promotion to the Championship.
Rhodes is thought to interest, Aston Villa, Everton, West Ham and Fulham which has driven his price sky high. Jol should be able to call on any funds generated by Dempsey’s sale and will consider Rhodes a sound investment for the club as any fee is likely to increase after a few seasons playing premiership football.
Another highly rated youngster from Jol’s homeland thought to be catching his eye is Herenveen striker Luciano Narsingh. The 21 year old forward only scored eight goals last term but created more goals than anyone else in the league and was selected in the Dutch national squad for Euro 2012.
Any deal may include Narsingh’s teammate, the Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi, 23, who spurned an opportunity to play for Holland despite possessing dual passports. Together the youngsters are thought to cost around £10 million which would represent a bargain for Fulham considering their age and potential.
A significant problem for Jol is that in Ruiz and Petric he has two strikers who are short on premiership exposure, Ruiz has only one season under his belt and Petric has played all his professional football in Switzerland and Germany.
Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, Steven Fletcher scored 12 goals as Wolves were relegated last season. Displaying a lot of determination in a losing cause, he would provide a strong option for Jol if things get difficult next season. The Scottish international has been valued at £10 million by Wolves who do not want to see their squad sold off on the cheap.