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Tuesday Fulham Stuff - 20/07/21...

Started by WhiteJC, July 20, 2021, 12:07:55 AM

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Jennings becomes Head of Football Development in Fulham restructure

FULHAM have announced a restructure of their Category One Academy, with Huw Jennings stepping down as Academy Director after 12 years to take on a new Head of Football Development role.

Mick Cave, the current Academy Manager, will replace Jennings as Academy Director, with Colin Omogbehin, who has led the Under-23s along with Mark Pembridge, taking on a new first-team development coach role.

Fulham were bottom of the Premier League for minutes for homegrown players last season. According to the CIES Football Observatory, just 1.2% of their minutes went to club-trained players - ie those who had been with the club for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21.

Fulham said that Jennings' new role would have "three broad objectives":

    Developing closer domestic and international links in the post-Brexit era to strengthen the club's reach for opportunities to recruit talent and provide a platform for our existing players to develop and flourish.
    Supporting the transitioning of Academy players into first-team environments building on our existing structure.
    Leading the FFCW programme as it transitions from the FFC Foundation to the performance side of the Club.

Jennings joined Fulham as Academy Director in December 2008, having previously held the same role at Southampton. Last month he was the recipient of the prestigious Eamonn Dolan Award (along with Brighton's Dan Ashworth) for his outstanding contribution to youth development.

Cave has been with the club for seven years, rising from Academy Performance Manager to Head of Player Development to Academy Manager and now Academy Director.

Previously he had worked for IMG, the producer and distributor of sports programmes, for five years, latterly as their UK Sales Manager.

Cave will "continue the Academy's great work of delivering its mission to support every player with an individualised, innovative and life-enhancing football experience," Fulham said.

Omogbehin moves from the U23s to take on a new role that is becoming more and more prevalent in English football, that of Development Coach. Last month TGG held a webinar on Individual Development Coaching, exploring how different clubs approach it.

Omogbehin will "provide daily support, on and off the pitch, for Academy players transitioning into first team environments," Fulham explained.

"Colin is an excellent role model, with vast experience of working with young players at Fulham FC and the South London area," the club added. "He will help the players understand what is required of them to achieve success at senior level."

Jennings said: "After 12 seasons at the Club, I am delighted to be moving into a new role. The Academy under Mike Cave and the excellent Academy staff team will continue to build the best Academy for Fulham.

"We are as determined as ever to compete with the best young player development programmes in the country, and Colin's appointment is a commitment to this objective.

"Similarly, the Club recognises the importance of the current exciting era for women's football, and I am looking forward to supporting Head Coach Steve Jaye and the team, as we build our programme for the future."


Sources: Sheffield United pursuit of Fulham's Tom Cairney hitting stumbling block

Sheffield United interest in Tom Cairney is at a crossroads with the Blades unable to meet Fulham's valuation of the midfielder, it has been revealed to Football League World.

On the back of Slavisa Jokanovic's appointment at Bramall Lane, Football League World learned that the Serbian was hoping to make Cairney one of his first additions, having had success with the midfielder at Craven Cottage.

Cairney, 30, remains with Fulham as things stand and it is looking increasingly difficult for Sheffield United to reunite Jokanovic with his former captain.

A source has told Football League World that, right now, Sheffield United are unable to finance a deal for the Fulham man.

Cairney, who progressed through Leeds United's academy before moving on to Hull City and Blackburn Rovers, has been on the books in West London since 2015.

During his time with Fulham, the midfielder has made 217 appearances across all competitions, featuring in both the Premier League and Championship.

In total, he's scored 37 goals for the Cottagers and played a part in two promotion campaigns in the Championship.

He scored the winning goal for Fulham in the 2018 play-off final against Aston Villa, under the management of Jokanovic. Scott Parker would then lead the club to a similar feat in 2020, with Cairney again a crucial cog in the midfield.

After relegation from the Premier League last season, Cairney is preparing for 2021/22 back in the Championship under Marco Silva, who is Parker's successor.


Sources: Developments emerge around Tosin Adarabioyo's short-term Fulham future

Fulham centre-back, Tosin Adarabioyo, has had little concrete interest in him at this stage of the transfer window, with his £10m release clause now expired, a source has revealed to Football League World.

It was reported by Football League World last month that suggestions Adarabioyo had a £10m release clause were accurate, but that option would expire on July 14th.

A source has now revealed to us that is indeed the case, with that release clause expiring without Fulham fielding any real interest in the 23-year-old, despite his impressive campaign in the Premier League in 2020/21.

However, a move could well materialise still, with the centre-back's party exploring the option of sourcing their cilent a move.

Despite progressing through Manchester City's academy with a lot of promise, Adarabioyo only managed to make eight senior appearances for the reigning Premier League champions.

He did, though, excel out on loan with West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers between 2018 and 2020.

That prompted Fulham to sign the defender permanently last summer, with Adarabioyo returning a consistent season under Scott Parker, despite relegation from the Premier League.

The towering centre-back featured in 33 of Fulham's 38 Premier League fixtures, impressing alongside Joachim Andersen.

Fulham are moving into a fresh era back in the Championship, with Marco Silva named as Parker's successor recently.


Fulham 'leading Wilson race'

Fulham are leading the race to sign Liverpool winger Harry Wilson, according to a Goal report this morning.

The Welsh international has joined up with Jurgen Klopp's squad for their summer tour of Austria but is widely expected to move on before the end of the transfer window. Wilson has been on loan with four Championship sides in succession. Last's season spell at Cardiff City followed stints with Hull City, Derby County and AFC Bournemouth.

The 24 year-old winger admitted publicly before this summer's European Championships that he might need to leave Anfield permanently in order to progress his career. Wilson played 52 minutes in three substitute appearances for Wales at this year's finals, being sent off at the end of their second round defeat by Denmark.

The sticking point to any deal would likely be Liverpool's £15m valuation. The Premier League club rejected a £12m bid from Burnley last summer and feel that Wilson has developed since then after scoring seven times in 38 appearances on loan at Cardiff. Liverpool are believed to have rebuffed loan approaches from Brentford and Benfica and are seeking a sale.


Chelsea can finally complete transfer deal six years after starting scouting mission

Chelsea have aspirations to get several new faces through the door this summer in a bid to strengthen Thomas Tuchel's squad, but they have so far not found much luck in their efforts

Chelsea are considering a move for former Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli in an effort to strengthen their goalkeeping options.

The Blues, who travel to Ireland tomorrow ahead of the start of a pre-season training camp, are on the hunt for a new third choice shot-stopper this summer following the departure of Willy Caballero.

The Argentine left Stamford Bridge at the end of last season following the expiry of his contract, meaning Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel is now a senior goalkeeper short.

However, with the Blues looking to spend big on the likes of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice and Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, they were never going to spend huge amounts of money on drafting in a new third choice goalkeeper to provide cover and competition.

According to a report by The Athletic, Chelsea have identified Bettinelli as a possible candidate to replace Caballero, whilst continuing to also run the rule over former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey as well.

Bettinelli is currently on the hunt for a new club after being released by Fulham at the end of last season and Chelsea could soon offer him the chance to return to the Premier League.

However, the goalkeeper, who spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, has other clubs casting their eye over him, with Championship outfit Birmingham City reportedly interested in his signature.

Interestingly, Chelsea were keen on signing the 29-year-old back in 2015 as they chased an option to provide back-up to both Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic. Although the prospect of joining Chelsea at that time must have been an exciting one, Bettinelli refused to entertain the chance to swap Craven Cottage for Stamford Bridge, purely because he was not prepared to make the move and barely get any minutes on the pitch.

"There was always that speculation with Chelsea, but I did not want to be sat on the bench," Bettinelli told The Evening Standard six years ago.

"It would have been silly to stop playing now and go and be a number three.

"It was lovely to be linked with Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, but this was always the place for me."

In truth, Bettinelli now finds himself in the exact same position. If he was to join Chelsea this summer he would be added to Tuchel's squad purely to provide back-up to both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Admittedly, the former Accrington Stanley loanee is currently a free agent and most probably desperate to secure a new club, but he may once again turn down any approaches from Chelsea because of the lack of first-team football they would be prepared to offer him.

Given that, as a goalkeeper, Bettinelli should be coming into the prime period of his career at the age of 29, he is unlikely to wish to sit on the bench and barely see any action.

With that said, Chelsea may find it difficult, once again, to convince the former England Under-21 international to make the move to Stamford Bridge.


Fulham transfer: Cottagers reportedly frontrunners to sign Liverpool talent

Fulham are the new frontrunners in the quest to sign Liverpool player Harry Wilson, according to Goal. Brentford, Cardiff, Swansea, Porto and Benfica have all been linked this summer.

The Cottagers are now making the biggest waves in the quest to sign a player who Liverpool are willing to sell.

Wilson spent last season on loan with Cardiff in the Championship. He fired seven goals and claimed 12 assists and he had hoped to secure a Premier League move.

It seems as though he will have to take a step back in the first instance though. Fulham will be in the second tier next season, although Marco Silva will hope to secure an instant promotion back to the top-flight.

Now, he clearly sees the 24-year-old as someone who can inject a spark into a promotion push for the Londoners.

Wilson earns £60,000-a-week at Anfield. The report claims that personal terms wouldn't be an issue but the £15 million he is valued at could be.

Fulham have paid similar fees for players in the past. They added Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert for big sums ahead of their last Championship campaign.

Wilson came in for some praise from Roy Keane back in November. After a standout performance for Wales, he told ITV Sport (11/11/20; 11:45pm): "I loved his goal. It's the run he makes, it's brilliant, an outstanding goal. Beautiful. I can watch that all night. Fantastic."

Wilson to Fulham: Player could prove quality signing

The 24-year-old has consistently proved himself in the Championship and his arrival at Fulham would be an exciting one.

Silva will be desperate to bolster his squad and he'll go in search of quality over quantity as he aims to return to the Premier League.

Wilson has only made two appearances for Liverpool and the chance to put down some proper roots must be attractive.

Fulham would welcome his star quality in the final third and he could prove to be one of the signings of the season at Championship level.


29-year-old won't join Nottingham Forest after transfer talks collapse

Former Fulham and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli held talks with Nottingham Forest before the Championship giants snapped up Ethan Horvath instead, as reported by The Sun (18 July, page 61).

If Brice Samba's debut season at the City Ground was his This Is It moment, 2020/21 felt more like Room On Fire. 

And, if early 2000s indie music isn't your bag, we'll spell it out with more clarity – Samba's second year between the sticks at Forest was nowhere near as impressive as his first. The keeper's form last term was beset by individual mistakes and some seriously unconvincing performances.

The two-time European champions were desperate to bring in a goalkeeper capable of putting pressure on Samba and shaking him from his slumber.

And they have done just that, landing USA international Horvath on a three-year deal from Club Brugge.

Horvath wasn't the only experienced shot-stopper on Forest's radar, however. The Sun reports free agent Bettinelli held talks regarding a move to the banks of the Trent but, for whatever reason, negotiations collapsed.

Perhaps Bettinelli, who left Fulham earlier this month and had a hit-and-miss loan spell at Middlesbrough under Neil Warnock, wants to join a club where a starting spot would be guaranteed.

The report adds the 29-year-old could now head to Birmingham City to fill in for the covid-stricken Neil Etheridge. 

With Hughton ticking a new goalkeeper off his summer hit-list, Nottingham Forest will now look to reinforce at the other end of the pitch with Watford's Philip Zinckernagel and Fortuna Sittard playmaker Zian Flemming under consideration.

A bid has also been launched for Dinamo Zagreb striker Sandro Kulenovic.


Cottage Talk: Benjamin Bloom's Thoughts On Fulham

Take a listen to a podcast that focuses on Fulham Football Club.

This episode was an interview with Benjamin Bloom who has a YouTube channel dedicated to the Championship. He was on to share share his views on Fulham.

You can also listen to the show by following this link...


Journalist reveals Fulham stance on Tom Cairney transfer

Fulham will not sanction the departure of Tom Cairney from Craven Cottage this summer.

What's the talk?

That's according to Reach journalist Darren Witcoop, who revealed in a post on Twitter that Marco Silva's side have informed Slavisa Jokanovic that the 30-year-old is not available to purchase in the summer transfer window.

The journalist goes on to state that the former Fulham manager had made the central midfielder his top transfer target this summer, however, as a result of the Cottagers' stance regarding the Scotland international, the 52-year-old will now be turning his attention towards Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane.

In his post, Witcoop said: "Fulham insisting Jokanovic's top target Tom Cairney not for sale."

Fans surely buzzing

Considering just how important a part of the Fulham side Cairney has been in recent years, the news that the Championship side are refusing to sell the 30-year-old this summer, particularly to one of their most likely promotion rivals next season, is sure to have left fans of the club buzzing.

Indeed, while a knee injury kept the midfielder sidelined for a great deal of the club's Premier League campaign last season, the £8.1m-rated man nevertheless impressed over his ten Premier League appearances, scoring one goal, registering one assist and creating one big chance for his teammates, as well as making an average of 1.7 key passes and taking 1.2 shots per game.

These returns saw the man Scott Parker dubbed an "outstanding" player earn an average SofaScore match rating of 7.28, ranking him as the club's best performer in the top flight of English football, albeit with a limited sample size of fixtures played in.

However, the Scot also proved his quality over 38 Championship appearances in the season before last, scoring eight goals, providing three assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, with these returns seeing him earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.12 – the second-best rating of any Fulham player that year.

As such, it is quite clear to see why Fulham are reluctant to allow their club captain to leave Craven Cottage this summer, as the midfielder's presence in the side very much appears to bring the Cottagers a great deal of success.


Fulham set to swoop for £15M-rated Welsh International – reports

Fulham are now leading the race for Liverpool and Wales international Harry Wilson according to reports.

The Cottagers, who were relegated last term, are plotting an instant return to the top flight and would be recruiting an individual possessing vast and crucial know-how at this level.

Wilson has made his mark on the division in recent years, impressing on loan with Hull City, Derby County and most recently, Cardiff City, where he scored seven times and provided 12 assists the season prior.

He has also spent time with Bournemouth, and while the Cherries' relegation has led Wilson to believe he was given a 'rough deal', it is understood that the best offer will prompt Liverpool to part ways with the 24-year old.

A report from Neil Jones from Goal, says that it is almost certain that Wilson will leave and Fulham could be the best exit for him.

It is yet to be seen if Fulham are prepared to meet the Merseyside club's £15M valuation of the playmaker, although agreeing on personal terms does not appear to be an issue.

Liverpool are aware that Fulham have spent similar fees on gifted forwards in the past, such as Anthony Knockaert, Ivan Cavaliero, and Bobby Decordova-Reid in an attempt to gain promotion from the second tier, and a player of Wilson's pedigree would represent a major coup for Marco Silva's side ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Fulham will face fierce competition for Wilson, though, with West London rivals Brentford understood to be keeping tabs as they look to implement experience into the side.

Cardiff were said to have lodged interest in bringing the talented winger back to the Welsh Capital, however, it appears they have been priced out of a move.

Portuguese giants Benfica had also reportedly enquired about a potential loan move, but after a series of temporary spells away from Anfield, Liverpool now believe the time is right to move Wilson on permanently.

Wilson himself has expressed his desire to find a permanent home, be that with the club he received his footballing education from or elsewhere. Back in April, Wilson told Sgorio: "I believe my senior career has been elsewhere so far.

"I'm 150, 200 appearances deep now and only a couple have been at Liverpool. The club will always be close to my heart, but if it means moving away to further my career then so be it."

He first joined Liverpool at the age of eight and turned heads with the academy, although he has only made two senior appearances for the Reds after debuting in January 2016.

Wilson has two years left on his current deal and despite joining up with the squad in Austria for the club's pre-season training camp, it looks a certainty that he will leave the club in his quest for regular minutes.

Last year, a £12M bid from Burnley was turned down, but Liverpool believe that they could now part ways with the North Walian for a higher fee after yet more progression in South Wales.

In order to raise funds and stake a fresh title bid next time out, Jurgen Klopp is constructing a mass exodus, with the likes of Sheyi Ojo, Marko Grujic, Xherdan Shaqiri said to be nearing the exit door.

Welsh Internationals Ben Woodburn and Neco Williams, the latter of whom appeared at EURO 2020 alongside Wilson, are also linked with a move elsewhere.