Following Jols pre game press conference prior to the weekends trip to Newcastle, many have already speculated that there will be little activity from Motspur Park in the coming days. There was a hint that he was looking at back up in the right back position with Benalouane from Parma being mentioned as someone under consideration although little else was mentioned in terms of activity. Of course no one really expected him to reveal the ins and outs of any future deals and sometimes it can be a little to easy to speculate when you only know half of the story.
Jol also said that there was a possibility of a few of the “fringe” players leaving in the next few days. We can all speculate who these may be although in my opinion it will most likely be Frei who departs for Turkey and Diarra who will leave the club having not been able to convince the coaching staff of is fitness and justification for a new contract.
Even if it is quiet for us over the next few days then we should be content that the club have acquired some excellent signings over the summer, and all for less than £10,000,000. Every football fan of every team up and down the country will tell you that their team is in desperate need of reinforcements somewhere within their respective squads and we at Fulham are no different. If however you had asked the same fans back in June if they would have been happy with the players that we have acquired to date then I suspect most would have bitten your hands off.
We all know that the so called “Dembele replacement” has still not been found and given the talent of the Belgian it isn’t a surprise that we have struggled to find someone in a similar guise. Both Scott Parker and Derek Boateng have added much needed depth to what was the weakest area of the squad although neither are naturally attacking minded. If there are no further midfield signings then it may be an indication that Jol has seen enough in Kasami to consider giving him the chance to establish himself , certainly until January.
Bryan Ruiz is yet to play in the league this season and while we all know that he is not up to playing central midfield, illustrated by a truly woeful individual performance against Burton Albion mid week, he will still be factored into the numbers by Jol and I suspect at some point be considered as an option for creativity in the middle.
If Berbatov and Bent are to play up top , whether as a pair or with the Bulgarian in behind , it will leave us with a lot of names to squeeze in to 4 midfield berths. Parker and Boateng could perhaps play in the middle but that leaves Kacaniklic, Dejagah, Ruiz, Taarabt, Duff, Sidwell, Mesca, Karagounis and Kasami all fighting for 2 places so is it really surprising that we are not still looking to add in this area?
The other area of major concern and is now more of a priority than anywhere else is at left back. The only player to eclipse Ruiz on Tuesday in terms of looking out of his depth against a League 2 club was John Arne Riise. Having given Walcott acres of space the game before, he afforded the same respect to Burton and a lack of any marking on his part gave them 2 goals. Kieran Richardson on his day is capable of being a solid option but given his hamstrings are about as reliable as Riise’s marking we really could do with another player there.
No one knows what Jol and Makintosh have going on behind the scenes and it would be rather stupid of them to show their hand at this stage in terms of requirements given that it would more than likely make us appear desperate and lead to the club being bent over the proverbial barrel for any given target. Anyone who remembers the transfer windows of the previous few seasons will know that the players we bring in on deadline day had not even been mentioned in the same breath as Fulham football club in the days preceding it. Perhaps this year more than the last few, there is less chance that we will see a last minute signing although unlike the years before we certainly have the capital available should the right player come around.