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Thursday fulham Stuff - 05/08/21...

Started by WhiteJC, August 05, 2021, 12:09:58 AM

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Carvalho in: On paper, is this Fulham's best XI that Marco SIlva can field right now?

Fulham are just days away from the start of their return to the Championship, having been relegated from the Premier League last term.

Once again, they were unable to extend their stay in the top flight beyond just the one season but they've proven in the past that they know how to bounce right back up.

Scott Parker's exit and the arrival of Marco Silva signals the start of a new era at Craven Cottage and one that gets underway properly on Sunday.

The game against Middlesbrough in west London will be Silva's first competitive game since taking charge and promises to be an exciting one – not least because it will be in front of a big crowd.

But after weeks of preparations and pre-season, who are the 11 players that we're likely to see.

We've taken a look at what is, plenty of factors considered, Silva's best XI on paper...

GK: Marek Rodak
Paulo Gazzaniga may have started the most recent pre-season game but assuming he's recovered from the knock that kept him out of that match, Marek Rodak gets the nod between the sticks.

The 24-year-old was excellent in Fulham's last season in the Championship and a key factor in their promotion.

Having lost his place to Alphonse Areola last year, Rodak will no doubt be determined to prove his quality again this season and for that reason, he should be Silva's first choice.

RB: Kenny Tete
There's a strong argument to be made that Fulham have the best full-backs of any Championship club this season.

Silva has plenty of options at right-back, with both Cyrus Christie and Steven Sessegnon returning from last season's loan, but Kenny Tete looks the clear first choice.

He cemented his place in the side in the latter part of 2020/21 and is surely Silva's strongest option on the right side of defence.

The drop down to the Championship should help him and may mean that we see more attacking output from him this term.

It would be a surprise to see anyone starting ahead of him.

CB: Tosin Adarabioyo
Tosin Adarabioyo has been linked with a move away from Fulham this summer but while his £10 million release clause remains untriggered, he's surely among the club's finest centre-backs at the moment.

The 23-year-old didn't look particularly out of place in the Premier League last season and was excellent while on loan in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers a few years ago.

If they can keep hold of him, you'd expect Adarabioyo to be a mainstay in the Fulham side and perhaps among the best centre-backs in the division.

LB: Antonee Robinson
With Michael Hector and Terence Kongolo missing, Tim Ream looks like a smart selection at centre-back.

Likewise with Tom Cairney injured Ream's inclusions means there is a bona fide leader on the pitch.

The 33-year-old may have fallen out of favour last season but his Championship experience will likely be invaluable, having twice played a key role in Fulham's promotions.

Hector and Kongolo's return could well see him lose his place, as could the progression of Alfie Mawson who has been brought back in from the cold this summer but for the time being the American looks likely to get the nod.

DM: Harrison Reed
The last two pre-season games have indicated that Antonee Robinson appears to be Silva's first choice at left-back at the moment, with the American having started both.

In Joe Bryan, Fulham have a left-back that could walk into the many starting XIs in the Championship but Robinson just about gets the nod.

His pure athleticism is remarkable and with the Craven Cottage outfit likely to be in the ascendancy, we can expect to see the 23-year-old getting forward a lot more often this term.

He's thrived in this second tier in the past and it would be no surprise to see him do the again in the 2021/22 campaign.

DM: André-Franck Zambo Anguissa
Harrison Reed pulled the strings for Fulham from central midfield last season and will surely be one of the first names on Silva's teamsheet assuming he's recovered the knock that kept him out of the most recent pre-season game.

The west London club are not short of quality players in the middle of the park either, with the likes of Jean Micheal Seri and Tyrese Francois also pushing for a place in pre-season.

But Reed, who has drawn links to Leeds United this summer, was so impressive for Fulham in the Premier League and will surely be a mainstay this term.

RM: Harry Wilson
Last time Fulham were relegated to the Championship, André-Franck Zambo Anguissa was sent out on loan to Villareal.

This time around it seems as though Silva is going to have the benefit of having the Cameroon international in his squad – and what an advantage that will be.

The midfield duo of Reed and Zambo Anguissa has to be up there with the best in the Championship, having built a strong relationship in the Premier League last season.

The step down to the English second tier could well see him dominate opposition sides, which will obviously thrill the Craven Cottage faithful.

CAM: Fabio Carvalho
Fulham's big-money signing could prove to be vital to their hopes of securing promotion back to the Premier League.

Harry Wilson's record in the division is outstanding, scoring 29 goals and adding 19 assists in 90 appearances, and he caused so many issues for opposition defenders while on loan at Cardiff City last term.

Silva certainly has some strong options on the flanks but the former Liverpool man has to be first choice on the right, even with Anthony Knockaert back from his loan at Nottingham Forest.

The Wales international will no doubt be determined to help his new club bounce back up to the top flight this term.

LM: Neeskans Kebano
With questions over the fitness of captain Tom Cairney and Bobby Reid returning from international duty with Jamaica in the Gold Cup, 18-year-old Fabio Carvalho could well be Silva's strongest option in attacking midfield.

The teenager has come to the fore during Fulham's pre-season and it's going to be a test of just how much the new manager rates him to see if he gets the nod against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Cairney and Reid are likely to be important players for the west London club this season when they're available but, right now, Carvalho looks to be Silva's best option.

ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic
While both Wilson and Knockaert are capable of playing on the left-flank, neither are as natural a player in that position as Neeskans Kebano.

Kebano fell out of favour following the promotion to the Premier League last season and spent the second half of 2020/21 out on loan but appears to have won the trust of Silva and has started the last two pre-season games.

We've seen just how useful an option he can be on the left in Fulham's Championship seasons in the past but he'll be keen to secure a regular place for the upcoming campaign and produce consistently.

The arrival of Flamengo striker Rodrigo Muniz could well change things but Aleksandar Mitrovic looks set to play a vital part of Fulham's promotion push in 2021/22.

He's yet to really crack the Premier League but there's no denying his quality at this level as the Serbian has dominated the Championship in the past.

Last time the west London club played in the second tier, Mitrovic scored 26 times and Silva will be hoping to see that sort of production this term.

He's been a big part of the new manager's pre-season plans and it would be a surprise not to see that continue as the campaign wears on.


Fulham remain in transfer pursuit of Watford duo

Watford midfield duo of Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah are still on Marco Silva's wish-list at Fulham, as reported by The Athletic.

The report states that Silva is a big admirer of both players, something that stemmed when the 44-year-old was the helm at Vicarage Road.

Fulham, who would most likely be able to fund such moves as they are in their first year of parachute payments, will face competition for Hughes however.

The Athletic's report also outlined that the 26-year-old has already held talks with two clubs regarding a summer move, with one unnamed and the other being Crystal Palace.

Newcastle and Aston Villa were also in pursuit, but neither are in active conversations with the club or Hughes.

Both Hughes and Chalobah have just one year left on their current contracts with the Hertfordshire-based club, with the latter not attracting as much attention as of yet.

The verdict

Landing just one of the aforementioned duo would be excellent business for Silva's men.

However, it is a step down for Hughes and Chalobah, who both certainly have the ability to remain in England's top tier this summer.

Fulham are an ambitious club, and under Silva, it is the start of a new project. A project that might appeal to the pair after working with him when he was at Watford.

The amount of Premier League attention that Hughes is attracting suggests that a move back down to the Championship is very unlikely.

But, the lack of interest in Chalobah thus far, is an excellent sign for Silva.


Silva sizes up double Watford swoop

Marco Silva wants to be reunited with two of his former Watford midfielders at Fulham, according to the Athletic.

The Portuguese head coach admired Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah during his time at Vicarage Road and the Whites have been linked with an audacious move for the former Derby midfielder for much of this summer. Hughes, who rejected the Hornets' offer of a new five-year contract, has just a year remaining on his current deal and has not featured in any of Watford's recent pre-season friendlies. Fulham have held a longstanding interest in the 26 year-old midfielder – dating back as far as 2012 – but could find themselves eclipsed by Premier League sides in their pursuit of Hughes, who has been the subject of interest from Aston Villa and has held preliminary talks with Crystal Palace.

Defensive midfielder Chalobah, who was briefly on Fulham's books as a youngster, also has a year to run on his Watford contract, but the club are more confident of persuading him to stay at Vicarage Road. The former England international was a regular starter as Watford won promotion from the Championship last season and Silva believes he could add steel to the Fulham midfielder, especially with ongoing concerns about Harrison Reed's fitness.

The Athletic cites Fulham's parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League as giving the Cottagers the financial advantage to be able to fund signings as these, but the moves would probably be dependent on Craven Cottage outgoings before the closure of the summer transfer window.


Sources: Fulham agree to sign Muniz for £8m

Fulham have agreed to sign Brazilian forward Rodrigo Muniz for £8million, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

The Championship club are putting the finishing touches to a deal for the Flamengo attacker, 20.

A Fulham source has told Football Insider that an agreement in principle has been reached with the Brazilian outfit and the transfer should be completed soon.

Muniz, whose current contract runs until 2024, was part of the Flamengo side which won the Brazilian Serie A in the 2020 season.

The centre-forwards has scored five goals in 24 appearances for the Rio de Janeiro-based outfit since graduating from their academy last year.

He spent the first half of the 2020 campaign on loan with Coritiba where he scored once in six outings.

Reports have previously linked Middlesbrough with a move for the young hitman.

Bobby Reid was Fulham's top scorer in 2020-21 with seven goals in all competitions.

Fellow forwards Ademola Lookman and Josh Maja returned to RB Leipzig and Bordeaux respectively following the completion of their loan spells with Fulham last term.

Fulham have made two permanent transfers so far this summer in Harry Wilson and Paulo Gazzaniga.

Wilson joined from Liverpool in a £12million deal while Gazzaniga signed upon the expiry of his contract with Tottenham at the end of May.

Marco Silva was named as the Cottagers' new manager in July and he will be hoping to lead them back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.


'In negotiations': Club chief admits £7m man could be sold to Fulham

Flamengo are likely to sell Rodrigo Muniz after Fulham agreed a deal for the Brazilian striker, vice-president Marcos Braz has told Paparazzo Rubro-Negro.

Finally, some confirmation.

If you believed reports coming out of Brazil during the past couple of weeks, it would have been a major surprise if Muniz was not a Fulham player before the end of August.

According to O Dia, the 20-year-old will complete his protracted move to the west London outfit this week, the Cottagers having agreed a £7 million deal after chief executive Alistair Mackintosh held talks with his Flamengo counterparts.

Muniz, who has rejected Middlesbrough in favour of a move to Craven Cottage, is understood to be signing a five-year deal at the Championship club after being blown away by Marco Silva's determination to get the deal done.

Silva, it is claimed, sees shades of Richarlison in the highly rated forward.

And while paperwork is continuing to hold up the deal, Fulham are still expected to go all Karsten Warholm and clear the final hurdle with ease. 

Rodrigo Muniz could join Fulham before season's opener

Muniz could be unveiled on the banks of the Thames before Sunday's Championship opener against, ironically enough, Middlesbrough.

"We just sold Hugo Moura to a Swiss team (Lugano) and, which can happen later, the sale of Muniz, in which we are still in negotiations," says Braz, breaking his silence on the future of a man who has lifted three trophies, including the Brazilian Serie A title, since breaking into the Flamengo first team as a teenager.

After a sluggish start to the summer, Fulham are making up for lost time.

The arrival of Harry Wilson from Liverpool for £12 million was a real statement of intent – the Wales international has sparkled in the Championship during loan spells at Derby County, Hull City and Cardiff – while Paulo Gazzaniga makes up for the disappointment of missing out on Ethan Horvath to Nottingham Forest.

A deal for Peterborough United playmaker Siriki Dembele seems unlikely at this stage, however.


Championship's most expensive kit revealed for next season - with three clubs joint-cheapest

The new campaign begins in just a few days - here's how much every single shirt in the second tier will set you back

The average price of a Championship replica top is just under the £50 mark this season.

All 24 clubs in the division have now launched their new shirts, with recently-relegated Fulham the most expensive.

The Cottagers' Adidas-sponsored shirt comes in at £60 on their club shop for a standard adult top. The west London club's shirt price is comfortably ahead of the average for the division, which stands at £49.83.

Elsewhere, standard adult replica tops for Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Sheffield United, and West Brom cost £55 on each club's online store.

The equivalent tops of Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, and Reading, cost £50 apiece.

Peterborough, Swansea and Millwall, meanwhile, cost the least at £45 each.

While some teams are content with traditional ways of unveiling kits, Bristol City took it to another level when they used dogs to promote the new strip.

Various breeds modelled the new attire across the club's Ashton Gate stadium. A variety of breeds wore the new kit, including labradors, pugs and cocker spaniels - with one even getting onto the stadium roof!

Championship kit prices for 2021-22, from highest to lowest

Fulham (Adidas): £60.00

Bournemouth (Umbro): £55.00

Cardiff City (Adidas): £55.00

Sheffield United (Adidas): £55.00

West Bromwich Albion (Puma): £55.00

Derby County (Umbro): £50.00

Middlesbrough (Hummel): £50.00

Nottingham Forest (Macron): £50.00

Reading (Macron): £50.00

Bristol City (Hummel): £50.00

Birmingham City (Nike): £49.99

Preston North End (Nike): £49.95

Luton Town (Umbro): £49.00

Barnsley (Umbro): £48.00

Huddersfield Town (Umbro): £48.00

Stoke City (Macron): £48.00

Blackpool (Puma): £48.00

Blackburn (Macron): £48.00

QPR (Errea): £47.99

Coventry City (Hummel): £47.00

Hull City (Umbro): £46.99

Millwall (Macron): £45.00

Swansea City (Joma): £45.00

Peterborough United (Puma): £45.00


How will Fulham fare and other Championship questions

The new Championship season is almost upon us and, despite the pain of relegation only a few weeks ago, there is an optimism amongst the Fulham fanbase. We gathered our contributors, including HammyEnd's most recent recruits, and asked them to predict how the next nine months might pan out.

Where do you expect Fulham to finish in May?
Billy Wright: It's a year of change for sure, but given the abundance of talent we have in the squad, I would fully expect us to make automatics. The players suit the play style which the manager wants so let's hope for a successful year.

Kieran Stutley: I feel can Fulham certainly can win the league and should be targeting the top two. We have a strong squad and have upgraded in terms of management with Marco Silva, who is clearly desperate to prove a point at the highest level. The Championship will be brutally tough, as ever, but I have full faith in Fulham to raise to the challenge.

Alan Drewett: I am excited for a start of the season for the first time since Slav took us up and I feel this could be our time to get promoted via the automatics. The vibes coming out of the club have been positive ever since the appointment of Marco Silva and the transfers made so far have been impressive. I do think we have enough to finish top 2 and with the addition of one or two, we could finish top.

Dan Crawford: I'm cautiously tipping Fulham to finish second. A combination of a squad full of players with the memory of how to get out of the Championship – twice in some cases – and the recruitment of Marco Silva makes me feel like the Whites should be strong enough to avoid the play-off torment this term. This league is full of surprises, though.

Tom: I expect Fulham to go up automatically. The Whites have retained enough quality in the squad to be confident of putting up a good showing in the Championship and adding Silva as well as bringing in Paulo Gazzaniga and Harry Wilson were big statements of intent over the summer.

Buster Waddell: The Whites have a strong squad, plenty of whom have experience of earning promotion from the Championship, and a manager hungry to make his point in England. I genuinely think we'll win the Championship.

Olly Johnson: After reaching the play offs in our last 3 Championship seasons, I'm predicting this time we will gain automatic promotion and finish top of the pile. We have incredible strength in depth and shouldn't be looking at anything less than top 2 – over to you Marco.

Seb Mayer: I'm quietly optimistic about our chances this term. We should finish in the top two – presuming there are no late surprise departures – given the quality at our disposal. We all know the Championship is a very competitive league and never straightforward, but Silva should have us right up there.

Louis Wishlade: I expect Fulham to finish in the automatic promotion places given the quality of our squad and Silva's stylistic suitability. However, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth will be no pushover. Hopefully, we won't have to endure a fourth set of play-offs in six seasons ...

Chris Simpson: Given the appointment of Marco Silva, the expectation and the need to bounce straight back for financial reasons we should expect nothing less than a top 2 finish. Anything but an immediate return will signal a huge rebuilding process and likely yet another change in management that will result in a good few more seasons in the 2nd tier before we are ready to challenge again.

Spike Waddell: Promoted as champions. I don't see why not, the squad is looking very strong as it is and I think it could even be stronger by the end of the transfer window.

Player to watch for the season?
Billy Wright: Mitro. Granted he wasn't great last year but under a manager who wants him to play, he will get back to his best and be the difference between going out automatically and the play-offs for me.

Kieran Stutley: Silva will have plenty of attacking weapons at his disposal, with the likes of Cairney and Mitrovic proven performers at Championship level, but I'm going to go for Kenny Tete. Silva will used advanced full backs and give them licence to bomb on. Tete has terrific crossing abilities that we didn't see enough of last season and he can make a real difference to the side offensively. I'm hoping for more assists from him and some dynamic displays.

Alan Drewett: My player to watch for the season will be Kenny Tete. With the formation and the attacking football Silva likes to play, our wing backs are going to be vital and the quality of Tete, will make him a potential player of the season if we do achieve our goal of promotion.

Buster Waddell: After his outstanding display against Charlton at the weekend, I'm hoping Tyrese Francois will have plenty of opportunities to impress in the first team but I am quite excited to see how Alfie Mawson can strengthen our defence – should he stay fit.

Chris Simpson: While there is excitement among the fans for the new faces like Wilson and potentially others I think any success this season for Fulham will naturally be tied to Mitrovic being back to his scoring best. If Fulham are to succeed then a big part of that will be a reliance on a spine of Mitrovic, Reed and Tosin. The very fact all three are still with us is testament to the project Silva is building but just seeing these them line up week, in week out will inspire confidence that we can beat anyone.

Olly Johnson: I always like to pick a youngster and prior to the Charlton friendly it was an easy choice – Fabio Carvalho. He has cemented himself as my choice now but having watched Francois, I did think twice about it. Hopefully, both of them can take big strides forward this season.

Spike Waddell: We're actually spoilt for choice looking at the attacking options in this squad – with Mitrovic, Wilson and Carvalho all primed to attack the Championship. The one who may surprise people is Tyrese Francois. He took his opportunity well against Charlton and this could be a real breakthrough season for the young Australian midfielder.

Seb Meyer: In my opinion I think Fulham's player to watch this season is Fabio Carvalho, having seen what he can do after getting some runouts at the end of our premier league campaign, I'm very excited to see what he can do at this level, he's got the pace to beat a man and at such a young age already has the talent to be a top class winger and his goal this weekend just cemented that.

Dan Crawford: It has to be Carvalho, who should get a serious opportunity to strut his stuff as a number ten with Tom Cairney yet to prove his fitness. He's got the quality to make a real impact as we've already seen and Silva has shown a willingness to blood the youngsters, having rewarded Tyrese Francois' fine pre-season with game time as well.

Tom: Fab broke through last season and didn't look out of place in the Premier League. He's played very well for Fulham in pre-season and took the winner against Charlton really well. Silva already speaks very highly of him – and I expect he'll get plenty of game time this season and flourish as a result.

Louis Wishlade: Fulham's players to watch have to be one of the youngsters. We saw Carvalho light up our last few Premier League games and we have also seen his link up with fellow academy graduate Francois. During his time at Everton and Watford, the wingers and the number 10 were some of the most important roles in Silva's system and with Cairney's unfortunate susceptibility to injury, we could see a lot more of Francois this season.

Who's going up automatically?
Billy Wright: West Brom are my tip to top the table, with Fulham in second.

Kieran Stutley: Fulham and Sheffield United. I absolutely have to back Slavisa Jokanovic on his return to English football. The Blades have one of the strongest squads in the division and I'm not overly concerned that they've yet to make significant additions. Jokanovic concurs – saying that it compares favourably to the ones he inherited here and at Watford – and, while it may take a while to fully implement his methods, he'll definitely get the best of the players.

Alan Drewett: This is a very open division – with seven or eight sides shooting for the promotion positions. I fancy Sheffield United to finish second behind the Whites. Their squad has remained pretty much intact despite coming down from the top flight and Slavisa Jokanovic's arrival could prove the difference between automatic promotion and the play-offs, where the Blades have a history of heartache.

Buster Waddell: Slavisa Jokanovic will definitely get Sheffield United firing and I'm backing the Blades to grab the other automatic promotion spot.

Olly Johnson: Fulham first, West Brom second. You can argue this isn't the most entertaining prediction but last season we saw Norwich and Watford bounce straight back up and given the ongoing pandemic it seems the teams who were relegated are once again in the strongest financial positions. This is often the case but has been extenuated for the past two seasons.

Seb Mayer: I struggle to see past Sheffield United. The Blades were bitterly disappointing last year but the return of Slavisa Jokanovic has already given the red half of the steel city a serious lift. He's a proven manager at this level and knows how to get sides to deliver when it matters.

Spike Waddell: West Brom will follow the mighty Fulham up to the Premier League automatically.

Dan Crawford: I've picked West Brom. They've got a squad of players who can perform at this level and in Valerien Ishmael they moved quickly for the Championship's sharpest coach. The Baggies should be right up there come the business end of the season.

Louis Wishlade: I think it will be West Brom and ourselves but there are a number of sides who can challenge including Bournemouth and Sheffield United. We can't afford a slow start – our previous seasons have shown how difficult playing catch up can be in the Championship.

Chris Simpson: Jokanovic has a track record for success in this league so coupled with what is still a strong squad I would expect Sheffield United to join us in the automatic positions. West Brom are another potential especially if we fail to start quickly.

Tom: I think it will be West Brom alongside the Whites. The bookies have made us favourites – and with the possible additions of Grimes and Muniz in the pipeline that would plug the only real gaps that are left in the squad. West Brom probably have very similar expectations of bouncing back straight away. They did well to lure Valerien Ismael from Barnsley and have made good signings so far.

Who'll be in the play-off picture?
Billy Wright: I think the playoffs will be a battle between Bournemouth, Sheff Utd, Middlesbrough and Millwall. I can see Sheff Utd winning the playoffs, simply due to the fact that their manager is a genius.

Spike Waddell: I've got Bournemouth, Sheffield United, QPR and Birmingham to finish in the top six.

Kieran Stutley: This was a really tough choice. I've plumped with West Brom, Bournemouth, QPR and Luton. That's harsh on Cardiff City and Swansea City as I think both Welsh sides will be there or thereabouts.

Alan Drewett: I've got West Brom, Bournemouth, Millwall and QPR in the play-off berth. The Baggies have enough quality in their squad to contest an automatic spot, but something tells me they will fall just short. Bournemouth lost out in the play-off semi finals last season and should be in the mix again. I think the other two places are wide open, but Mark Warburton had QPR firing at the end of last term and his summer acquisitions look strong, so Rangers should go well. Millwall have made some smart signings and have not been far away from the top six in the past – the return of supporters to the New Den might spur them on to the top six.

Seb Meyer: Bournemouth have a great chance of repeating their play-off finish from last year and West Brom should also be there or thereabouts come May. I wouldn't discount Barnsley or Swansea from reaching the top six for a second season in succession and Reading are my dark horse for the top six.

Louis Wishlade: I think Sheffield United will win the play-offs. Jokanovic has got too much know-how in this league to not be seriously contending for promotion with that squad. The Blades will be joined by Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and QPR.

Chris Simpson: There are a number of teams who could well have strong seasons but I would expect Swansea, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough to be there or there about. As much as it pains me to say it I think QPR have made some excellent additions this summer and along with Blackburn could well push for top 6 given a number of talented players in their squads.

Dan Crawford: Sheffield United, Barnsley, QPR, Bournemouth. The Blades will be boosted by the recruitment of Jokanovic, who knows his way out of this division, and our former favourite has a squad capable of pushing for an immediate return. Barnsley might have lost Ismael but they have kept a significant portion of the squad that performed so well last term and have made some smart signings in the last couple of weeks. QPR were excellent in the second half of last season under Mark Warburton and their shrewd summer additions bode well. Bournemouth should be there or thereabouts and they have a manager who ... well, there's no need to go into all of that again.

Olly Johnson: Bournemouth should benefit both from their remaining parachute payments and Parker's previous experience of taking Fulham up via the play-offs – I'm backing them to win promotion via this route. The other teams in the play-offs will be Cardiff, Swansea and Reading.

Tom: I've picked QPR, Bournemouth, Stoke and Sheffield United. QPR finished last season with momentum, which is key in this division, and they've moved shrewdly in the market to strengthen. Sheffield United will need to transition from Wilder's style to the way Jokanovic wants to be play, but they'll be a force to be reckoned with. Stoke have made some astute signings and this could be a strong season, whilst Bournemouth are probably in the last chance saloon before they have to sell their prized assets.

Buster Waddell: West Brom, Bristol City, Swansea City, QPR.

And who's going down?
Billy Wright: Huddersfield seem to quality and struggled towards the back end of last season. I hope Peterborough beat the drop because I'm a big fan of chairman Darren MacAnthony but, as of the time of writing, they've not made any big signings and I can't see them having enough to survive. Derby seem destined for disaster with the club's dire financial position, a lack of senior professionals and Wayne Rooney's antics all adding up to a pre-season that has been far from ideal.

Kieran Stutley: Derby, Hull City and Huddersfield.

Buster Waddell: Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Peterborough United.

Alan Drewett: I think Derby look in turmoil at present and I can't see them staying up and expect them to finish bottom. It seems like Blackburn are struggling with finances and they haven't had the best of pre seasons either. My last team for the drop will be Blackpool who got promoted via the play offs last season but I do feel they are the weakest of the three that came up and I can't see them surviving.

Olly Johnson: Derby are an obvious choice given we're one week from the start of the season and they're currently unable to field 11 senior players. Alongside the Rams, I am going to pick Blackpool, who came up via the League One play offs, and Huddersfield, who have struggled since relegation from the Premier League in 2019.

Chris Simpson: I think both Peterborough and Blackpool will struggle this season alongside Luton perhaps finding it tougher than they did last year. Huddersfield are a club in a bit of a mess right now as well so could all feature towards the bottom.

Seb Mayer: Your eyes are immediately drawn to the three newly-promoted sides in Hull, Peterborough and Blackpool but Derby are in a massive downward spiral and seem doomed. Coventry and Luton look like they'll also have their hands full avoiding the drop.

Spike Waddell: I have picked Blackpool, Huddersfield and Derby to go down.

Dan Crawford: Derby are in a dreadful position. Financially hamstrung, with a novice manager still to prove himself and a conspicuous lack of senior players, it looks like being a long season at Pride Park. I don't think Luton will be able to repeat the feats of previous seasons and Blackpool don't look strong enough to survive.

Louis Wishslade: Peterborough United, Blackpool and Derby County.

Tom: Derby are a team in turmoil and can hardly get a side together, which spells trouble. I don't think Blackpool or Hull have added enough and they will both struggle.


Fulham strike '£8m Muniz deal'

Fulham have finally agreed an £8m deal to sign Flamengo forward Rodrigo Muniz, according to Football Insider.

The website quotes a cites a club source, who suggests the signing should be completed in the coming days, following torturous negotiations with the Brazilian outfit over their 20 year-old striker. Fulham sought to renegotiate a previously arranged deal after learning that Flamengo had tried to sell Muniz, who is keen to work with Marco Silva, to Middlesbrough for a lower fee.

Silva is eager to sign a striker to supplement Aleksandar Mitrovic ahead of the new Championship campaign and views Muniz, who has scored 10 times in 33 appearances since breaking into the Flamengo first team last year, as the sort of young talent he can develop. Muniz, who won the Brazilian championship in a fairytale debut campaign at senior level, is keen to come to London after Silva suggested he could have similar success to Richarlison should he make the move.

The deal has also been held up after Muniz tested positive for coronavirus last week.


Colchester United linked with Fulham striker Sylvester Jasper

COLCHESTER United have been linked with a move to sign striker Sylvester Jasper on loan from Fulham.

The U's are on the hunt to boost their forward options ahead of the new League Two season.

Jasper, 19, progressed through the ranks at Fulham and has made five senior appearances for the West London club, to date.

He has been a regular performer for their under-23 and under-18 sides.

The attacker, who can operate on either flank or be deployed in a central role, scored eight goals in 16 appearances for the Cottagers under-23s last season.

Jasper made his senior debut for Fulham in January 2020 when he featured in their FA Cup tie against Manchester City, at the Etihad Stadium.

He went on to appear twice in the Championship in the 2019-20 season, against Brentford and Birmingham City and was named on the bench for Fulham's final Premier League clash against Newcastle United.

Jasper, who signed a new contract with Fulham in August 2020 keeping him at the club until the summer of 2023, last month spent time with League One side Sheffield Wednesday on trial.

He featured in the second half of the Owls' behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly against Barnsley.

Jasper is likely to be known to U's boss Hayden Mullins, who spent several years coaching in Watford's academy before leaving to join Colchester as assistant manager, last September.

Mullins was at Vicarage Road when new Fulham boss Marco Silva was in charge of the Hornets.

Colchester have recent history of signing young players on loan from Fulham.

Last summer, they snapped up young striker Martell Taylor-Crossdale on loan, ahead of the 2020-21 season.

However, he failed to make a league appearance for the U's and he returned to Craven Cottage that October, after his loan spell was ended by mutual consent.


Fulham turn down Valencia loan move for Anguissa

Fulham have rejected Valencia's bid to take Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa on loan, according to Sky Sports News.

Anguissa, who starred in a previous loan spell with Villareal following Fulham's relegation from the Premier League in 2019, has featured prominently for Marco Silva's side during pre-season and has still has two years to run on his current contract at Craven Cottage. The Cameroon international made more of an impression on the top flight last season than during a disappointing first campaign with the Cottagers and remains one of the club's most prised assets.

It is understood that Fulham rejected Valenica's loan move, which didn't include a loan fee, out of hand. It remains to seen whether the Spanish side will return with an improved offer or if other European sides will move for Anguissa ahead of the end of the transfer window.


Jasper set for Colchester loan

Fulham winger Sylvester Jasper is closing to completing a season-long loan move to Colchester United, according to the Athletic.

The teenager is set to move to the League Two side to gain more first team experience after making five senior appearances for Fulham. Jasper had spent part of this pre-season on trial with Sheffield Wednesday, but Owls boss Darren Moore decided against taking the 19 year-old on loan.

The Southwark-born youngster has been a consistent performer for Fulham's youth sides in recent seasons but was not afforded the opportunity of an extended run in the side after being handed his senior debut by Scott Parker in the FA Cup defeat at Manchester City in February 2019. He signed a three-year contract with the Whites last summer – an indication of just how highly he is rated at Motspur Park – and should join the U's shortly.


Fulham knock back Valencia's loan approach for Andre Zambo Anguissa

Fulham have turned down a loan approach from La Liga side Valencia for midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa, it has been reported.

Sky Sports (Transfer Centre, 4th August, 12:06) has claimed the Cottagers' midfielder is attracting interest from Spain ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

Following their relegation to the Championship back in 2019, Fulham sanctioned a loan move away for Anguissa. He linked up with La Liga side Villareal, making a good impression with The Yellow Submarine.

Now, following the club's return to the second-tier, it has been claimed Valencia have tried and failed with an attempt to bring Anguissa back to Spain.

Sky Sports has revealed Valencia lodged a loan bid for the 25-year-old, only for Fulham to knock it back.

Since joining the club back in 2018 for a reported fee of £30m, Anguissa has played 63 times across all competitions for the club. In the process, he has provided three assists.

Attracting Premier League interest
Earlier this summer, the Liverpool Echo claimed Liverpool could eye Anguissa as a potential replacement for Gini Wijnaldum.

Not only that, but Mail Online stated back in May that Arsenal, Aston Villa and Everton were monitoring his situation. Links with a return to the top-flight have failed to materialise as of yet, but it awaits to be seen how the situation pans out in the coming weeks.

What should Fulham do?
Rejecting a loan bid from Valencia implies Marco Silva's side are looking to keep Anguissa this summer, but their true stance remains unknown as it stands.

The Cameroonian could be a key player for Silva's side having previously impressed in higher divisions, but it will be interesting to see if anyone can look to tempt Fulham into a sale.


Fulham: Important Travel Information

Boro fans intending to travel to Fulham via London Underground are advised of severe disruption.

Due to ongoing works, sections of the District Line and the Circle Line will be closed all weekend and consequently there will be no access to the Fulham area from the stations at Putney Bridge, East Putney, Parsons Green, or Fulham Broadway.

Our friends at Middlesbrough Supporters South are advising fans: "The best way to get to Craven Cottage due to these closures is to get the Hammersmith & City line, or the Piccadilly line, to Hammersmith.

"From Hammersmith get the 220 bus towards Wandsworth and get off at Kingwood Road (about 15 minutes). Alternatively the walk from the station to the ground takes about 25-30 minutes."


Fulham could bid for Silva favourite, also want his £8m teammate

Fulham could look to reunite Marco Silva with two of his former Watford stars as Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah face uncertain futures at the Premier League outfit, as reported by The Athletic.

With many at Vicarage Road already dreading the departure of a man who pulled the strings, broke the lines and set the tempo during last season's promotion-winning campaign, Hughes' absence from Watford's pre-season training camp at St George's Park will have done little to allay those fears.

The Athletic claims Hughes was left at home, the former Derby County talisman having failed to agree a new contract in Hertfordshire. 

His current deal expires in 2022, with Crystal Palace entering talks with a man who has previously been linked with Newcastle United and Aston Villa. 

Newcastle's inertia means a move to St James' Park looks highly unlikely at this stage, however, while Villa appear to be focusing on other options, including James Ward-Prowse and another Watford ace in Ismaila Sarr, as they prepare for life post-Jack Grealish.

Will Fulham raid Watford for Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah?

The report does add, however, that Marco Silva wouldn't be against the idea of reuniting with Hughes at Craven Cottage.

Whether the 26-year-old would consider a return to the Championship – having only escaped the second tier two months ago – remains to be seen.

His £50,000-a-week wages could be another stumbling block.

Like Hughes, England international Chalobah is also due to become a free agent in 2022 and could struggle for game time this season following the expensive acquisition of Imran Louza from Nantes.

Marco Silva would likely welcome the opportunity to work with the former Chelsea youngster again.

"Chalobah is a high-quality player," Silva told the Liverpool Echo in 2019 as his Everton side were preparing for a top-flight clash with the Hornets.

Fulham have already snapped up Harry Wilson and goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, while Flamengo striker Rodrigo Muniz has agreed a £7 million switch to west London.


Kamara close to Fulham exit

Reports from Greece today claim that Fulham and Aris have finally agreed a fee for the permanent transfer of Aboubakar Kamara.

The Mauritanian international is expected in Greece imminently to finalise the deal, which could be announced within the next 24 hours. Previous talks between the parties had collapsed last month over the structure of a deal to take the 26 year-old forward to Thessaloniki, but today's coverage suggests that an agreement has now been struck.

Kamara, signed from Amiens for around £5m in July 2017, has scored seventeen goals in 91 appearances for Fulham. He was part of two Championship promotion-winning teams but doesn't appear to be in Marco Silva's plans for the forthcoming campaign. His time at Craven Cottage wasn't short of controversy. Kamara angered Claudio Ranieri after refusing to relinquish penalty taking duties to Aleksandar Mitrovic and missing a spot-kick against Huddersfield and was then involved in a scuffle with the Serbian during a yoga session.

He was loaned out to Turkish side Malatyaspor in January 2018 after being arrested on suspicion actual bodily harm and criminal damage after attacking a security guard as he sought to discuss his future with the club's hierarchy at Motspur Park before Scott Parker reintegrated him into the first team squad.


Fulham are stepping up negotiations for Flamengo striker Rodrigo Muniz as the Cottagers move closer to the signing of Swansea captain Matt Grimes and reject a loan bid from Valencia for Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

    Rodrigo Muniz is set to agree a five-year deal and would move for £7.8million
    The 20-year-old is ready to reject a similar proposal from Middlesbrough
    The two sides face each other on Sunday in their opening match of the season
    Muniz has been compared in style to Marco Silva protege Richarlison
    He has already won three trophies with Flamengo, including Brazil's Serie A

Fulham are stepping up negotiations over a £7.8million deal for Brazilian striker Rodrigo Muniz.

The vice-president of his club Flamengo has confirmed talks are advancing with Muniz ready to reject a similar proposal from Middlesbrough - who Fulham face on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Muniz is understood to be close to agreeing a five-year contract after Fulham improved their initial offer and a deal is expected to go through.

Fulham are entering advanced talks over the signing of Flamengo striker Rodrigo Muniz

The Cottagers are also looking to get a deal for Swansea midfielder Matt Grimes over the line

Flamengo vice president Marco Braz told Brazilian media: 'We just sold Hugo Moura to Lugano and, one which can happen later, the sale of Muniz, in which we are still in negotiations.'

Muniz is 6ft 1ins tall and has been compared in style to Everton striker Richarlison, who played for Fulham boss Marco Silva at Watford and Everton.

Muniz has lifted three trophies, including the Brazilian Serie A title, since breaking into the Flamengo first team as a teenager.

Fulham are hoping to finalise the signing of Swansea City captain Matt Grimes once he is given the all-clear from Covid and have rejected a loan bid from Valencia for Cameroon international midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Fulham's Sylvester Jasper is close to joining Colchester United on loan after a trial period at Sheffield Wednesday.


Fulham man set for permanent exit following transfer breakthrough with European outfit

Aboubakar Kamara's time at Fulham is set to come to an end, according to reports in Greece.

All About Aris are reporting that a deal for the Mauritius international should be completed within the next 24 hours to take him to Greek Super League side Aris Thessaloniki after stating last night that a breakthrough had occurred in negotiations between the two parties.

It will be a permanent departure for the 26-year-old and it will bring an end to a turbulent spell at Craven Cottage for Kamara.

The French-born forward arrived from Amiens in 2017, scoring seven Championship goals in his debut season but the following campaign saw then manager Claudio Ranieri fall out with Kamara after he took a penalty off Aleksandar Mitrovic – which he went on to miss.

Not long after, Kamara was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm and criminal damage and that saw his season end at Craven Cottage as he eventually joined Yeni Malatyaspor on loan – however he returned to the fold in west London for the following season-and-a-half before another temporary exit in February to Dijon.

It emerged last month that Aris wanted to take Kamara to Greece, but The Athletic's Peter Rutzler reported last week that a £4 million move had broken down.

Things seem to have picked up once again though and it looks as though Kamara will be heading across Europe immediately.

The Verdict

Even though Fulham are short of attacking options, this move probably suits all parties.

Kamara didn't feature much for Fulham last season and he was clearly not in Marco Silva's plans, so cashing in on him and potentially recouping £4 million isn't a bad deal whatsoever.

The supposed arrival of Rodrigo Muniz will only push him down the pecking order and this move gives Kamara a chance to rebuild his career on the continent – the fact he is only 26 means that he still has time to develop as a player.

He's probably not one that Cottagers fans will have too fond memories of though so it's in the best interests of everyone to move on.


No Rotherham loan for Fossey

Marlon Fossey is back at Fulham after failing to earn a loan move to Rotherham United following his trial, according to the Athletic's Peter Rutzler.

The American defender, who has endured two years of injury hell, played in Rotherham's pre-season friendly defeat by Middlesbrough last Friday night but manager Paul Warne has decided against keeping the full back in south Yorkshire on loan.

The 22 year-old, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier this summer, has returned to Motspur Park and Fulham will continue alternative options for Fossey, who had his loan spell at Shrewsbury cut short by injury last season, to get the regular football he needs.


Boro look set to lose race for Rodrigo Muniz to Fulham

MIDDLESBROUGH look set to lose the race for Brazilian striker Rodrigo Muniz after fresh reports indicate Fulham have stepped up their negotiations.

Boro have been in discussions with Flamengo to purchase the 20-year-old permanently with the club proposing a straight purchase and a sell-on fee of around 50%. Fulham had discussed a loan deal with the option to buy after a season.

Brazilian website Coluna Do Fla reported that Boro were the preferred option to broker a deal for Muniz. However, Fulham renewed discussions with Flamengo where a permanent offer was discussed. 

It's believed that Muniz prefers a move to West London and Flamengo are now waiting for a formal offer from Marco Silva's side so that a deal can be made between the two sides.

Flamengo vice president Marco Braz told Brazilian media: "We just sold Hugo Moura to Lugano and, one which can happen later, the sale of Muniz, in which we are still in negotiations."

It's easy to make the connection between Boro and Muniz given that Neil Warnock has told the media previously that he is searching for a striker in South America ahead of the new Championship campaign. It's understood that Boro have been in the market for three South American players with Chief Executive Neil Bausor and coach Leo Percovich attempting to orchestrate deals.

Warnock told the media last week: "I've watched a few players in the last few weeks, and we are looking."

"Neil has gone over to talk to people about a couple of players. He's met a couple of clubs regarding players over there – not (Martin) Payero, we're looking at other strikers.

"There were two opportunities, and he's doing his best to get us someone else on board."

The two teams meet on the opening day of the season this Sunday at Craven Cottage.

Meanwhile the club are still yet to announce the signing of Argentine midfielder Martin Payero. The 22-year-old posted from Rockliffe Park on Sunday ahead of his proposed move to the club.

Warnock told the meia last week: "He's not (a Middlesbrough player) yet, not as far as I'm aware, although I think it is all done with regard to contracts"

"I've spoken to the player, and he's really looking forward to it. I can't really do any more. I've done all I can do, it's just a case of finalising things now."


Games for the Weekend 06/08
And the Championship kicks off...
New season, new manager, new players, new kit.

It's a shame that we have to wait until Sunday, I'm guessing we'll have a lot of games moved from Saturdays this season but the Euro games made waiting for the start appear not quite as long?
I'm looking forward to seeing how Silva gets us playing, hopefully more exciting that the past couple of seasons.
Also I'm interested to see if any of the new additions will get a game, the young lad from Liverpool looks to be an exciting addition but I think it would be harsh on Rodak not to start the season.
At the time of writing, Wednesday afternoon, there's been no further news on the young Brazilian, apparently he tested positive for COVID so it doesn't look as if he's going to get a game this month, and the Matt Grimes saga is following a "typical" Fulham transfer pattern?

Having such a seasoned old campaigner in Colin as our first opponent should prove to be an interesting test for Marco and whatever team he sends out, hopefully Mitro will be back on fire and we'll get a taste of what we can expect for the rest of the season.

Our record against Middlesbrough is consistent with 5 wins, 5 loses and 4 draws, so Sunday would be a good time to tip the balance in our favour.


Games of Interest...


Bournemouth v West Brom

QPR v Millwall
Stoke v Reading
Sheff Utd v Birmingham

Fulham v Middlesborough

come on over to the forum and join in the discussion...