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Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 03/11/21...

Started by WhiteJC, November 02, 2021, 10:02:55 AM

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Southampton amongst clubs set to be alerted by Fulham development as January blow in the pipeline

Fulham might be forced to cash-in on Fabio Carvalho in the January transfer window after the teenager knocked back the Cottagers' offer of a new contract.

Carvalho's current terms at Craven Cottage will expire in the summer and Fulham have been working hard to strike a new agreement with their playmaker.

However, as per a report in The Sun, Carvalho has knocked back a 'massive' package to commit to the club, who will now not put another offer in-front of the 19-year-old.

It's claimed that Fulham may now look to sell Carvalho and cash-in during the January transfer window.

Previously, it had been reported by TEAMtalk that Southampton were amongst a host of clubs interested in signing Carvalho. They have been tracking him for a number of months and are hoping to prey on his contract situation.

Carvalho has made six appearances in the Championship this season, scoring three goals and registering one assist for Marco Silva's side.

Although not a frontline part of Silva's promotion push, he's still played 412 minutes of Championship football and started on five occasions.

His three goals came in consecutive fixtures against Huddersfield Town, Millwall and Hull City back in August.

The Verdict

Fulham's eventual loss is going to be someone's gain here. Carvalho is a top talent and he's not going to cost a fortune taking this update into consideration.

There are some high-profile clubs in pursuit of his signature, but Southampton appear to have been on top of this for some time.

They are looking to evolve their squad after a couple of key departures back in the summer and this would be an exciting, vibrant addition.

It'll be interesting to see if they act in January.


Leeds, West Ham set to pounce as exciting Champ star snubs generous new deal

Leeds United and West Ham have seemingly been put on red alert after one of the Championship's hottest young talents, Fabio Carvalho, reportedly snubbed the offer of a new contract.

Carvalho has been pulling up trees with his performances for Marco Silva's side this season. With three goals in six Championship appearances this season, it's easy to see why the 19-year-old is a player in demand.

But with just six months left on his deal come January, Fulham may have little choice but to cash in.

The 19-year-old's representatives have been locked in talks with the Cottagers for some time. However, The Sun now reports that their latest offer has been shunned, making his sale look all the more likely.

Fulham's latest offer was noted to be extremely generous and while they look unlikely to raise it further, it will be left on the table. But should no agreement be reached before the winter window opens, the Cottagers may have little option but to cash in.

Indeed, the paper claims that chase is being led by both Leeds and West Ham. The pair are understood to be keeping a close watch on Carvalho's progress.

However, they are not alone in their pursuit with our exclusive last month detailing interest from Southampton.

Indeed, The Sun suggests there is also interest from Real Madrid, who are also pondering an approach.

Silva urges Cavalho to stay

Silva urged Carvalho last month to make a decision on his future so as not to impact his progress.

The Portuguese said: "He has to decide what he wants for his future as soon as possible. It's important now not to disturb himself during this period.

"I hope those who are advising him advise him in the right way."

The winger, who has a Portuguese father and was born in Lisbon, has been capped by England at youth level.


West Ham could sign 'incredible' Fabio Carvalho from London club for absolutely nothing

West Ham could now sign David Moyes target Fabio Carvalho after he turned down a new contract offer from Fulham and is now likely to leave Craven Cottage on a free transfer in the summer.

The Daily Mail recently claimed that Hammers boss David Moyes wants to bring the special 19-year-old to the London Stadium.

Moyes has always said that he wants to bring talented young British players to West Ham.

And Carvalho fits into that category.

The attacking midfielder has six caps to his name for England's U-18s already.

West Ham could sign Fabio Carvalho
The Sun claims that the teenager has rejected the offer of a new deal to remain at Craven Cottage and will now most likely leave the west London outfit for nothing in the summer.

Now, West Ham will undoubtedly be monitoring his situation. With Andriy Yarmolenko set to leave in the summer and Manuel Lanzini facing an uncertain future at the London Stadium, the addition of another attacking midfielder could very well be needed.

And Carvalho would be an exceptional addition for the Hammers. What a star he is!

Football League World describe him as an incredible talent.

Carvalho has racked up 33 goals and 19 assists in 82 games for Fulham's youth teams (Transfermarkt).

He has made a huge impression for the senior team as well with four goals and one assist in 12 games.

The teenager really is an incredibly gifted player. He has dazzled with his precocity over the past year or so. The Fulham ace can play anywhere along the front-line and would be a huge coup for West Ham.

There is one very big problem, however. Real Madrid are chasing his services as well.

So whether the Hammers are able to beat Los Blancos to the teenage whiz-kid's signature remains to be seen.


Southampton handed massive boost in transfer race to sign wonderkid wanted by Leeds United

The 19-year-old midfielder is said to have rejected Fulham's efforts to tie him down to a new long-term deal at Craven Cottage, alerting a number of Premier League clubs to his availability

Southampton have been handed an almighty boost in the race to sign Championship teenager Fabio Carvalho.

The Fulham academy graduate, 19, has started the new season in hot form by scoring three goals in just over 400 minutes of action.

His name my be familiar to Saints fans after finding the net for the Cottagers last term at St Mary's, despite seeing his side fall to a defeat against Ralph Hasenhuttl's side.

And now he has found himself linked with Southampton who are said to be monitoring his situation as Fulham pushed hard to convince the teenager to stay in West London.

However, according to a fresh report by SunSport, Carvalho has now turned down that contract offer and plans to depart the club at the end of his current contract.

That will see the England youth star become a free agent in just over six months' time as Leeds United and West Ham circle.

As per the The Athletic, another improved offer from Fulham is said to be unlikely with the club now well aware that the fast-approaching January transfer window could well be their last chance to cash in on the talented midfielder.

Speaking about Carvlaho's contract situation, manager Marco Silva last month urged the player's representatives to "stay on the same page" as the club when it came to their hopes of striking a deal for him to stay at Craven Cottage.

His current contract will expire during the summer of 2022, meaning he can be signed for the price of a compensation fee, similar to the deal that saw Thierry Small swap Everton for Southampton earlier this season.

"That is something for inside our football club. I won't be updating at each step. We will only say something when we have something official," said Silva as he remained coy over Carvalho's future.

"Fabio is the same as at the beginning of the season. He is the same boy, a young player hungry to play and happy to work at Fulham every single day.

"All the speculation is for him, of course with my and our support, to deal with because he's a professional player. If there is speculation around him, that means that he's doing something well that provoked this speculation.

"I don't know what's happening off the training ground on a daily basis, with those advising him, but I hope everyone stays on the same page and that everyone really advises him in the right way - because he's a young player who deserves and needs it, and who we are supporting."


3 celebrities who support Fulham – Did you know this?

Fulham are currently well on their way to getting back into the Premier League at the first time of asking after starting the season well in the Sky Bet Championship.

The West London side currently occupy second place in the league standings and are hot on the tails of the currently unbeaten leaders, Bournemouth.

Marco Silva has had an almost ideal start to his tenure at Craven Cottage and is sure to have been pleased with the performances that his side have put in since he took on the job over the summer.

The fans have certainly been enjoying themselves as well this term, with there also being a few famous faces in the stands over the past few months.

Here, we take you through THREE celebrities who support Fulham...

Nigel Havers
Best known for his work as an actor and presenter, Havers has been a fan of the Whites for many years and has been seen at Craven Cottage from time to time.

His role in the British film Chariots of Fire earned him a BAFTA nomination, whilst he has also featured in Empire of the Sun and Passage to India.

As for television, Havers has been seen on the comedy show Don't Wait Up and Coronation Street.

He is also the godfather of the popular comedian Jack Whitehall.

Richard Osman
The creator and the co-presenter of the quiz show, Pointless, Osman is an avid Fulham fan.

He has also presented various quiz shows including Two Tribes and Richard Osman's House of Games.

His reputation for being a great panel show member has gone from strength to strength over the years thanks to his appearances on Would I Lie to You? and Have I Got News for You.

Osman has been a season ticket holder at Craven Cottage for many years.

Georgie Thompson
Thompson is best known for being a former presenter on Sky Sports News and is a well known Fulham supporter.

Alongside presenting the main news show for Sky, she also covered major sporting events including the US Open, the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and numerous car racing events.

She then went on to become one of the new presenters on BBC Radio 5 Live's comedy show Fighting Talk alongside comedian Josh Widdicombe.

Thompson also famously dated Declan Donnelly, one half of the presenting duo Ant and Dec.


Mowbray sets out how Blackburn Rovers will approach Fulham test

Tony Mowbray says Rovers cannot allow free-scoring Fulham to have things their own way as he looks to strike the right balance in a bid to topple the promotion-chasers.

Fulham arrive at Ewood having won 10 of their 15 games, scoring 36 goals in the process, half of them from prolific striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Rovers' task isn't insurmountable though, Fulham having lost three times, and they are yet to win any match in which they have scored two goals or fewer.

Mowbray's side, who could be without first-team regulars Ryan Nyambe, Daniel Ayala, Harry Pickering and Sam Gallagher, have picked up back-to-back wins themselves and have tasted defeat at home only once in their last 10 matches.

They have also been among the goals themselves, scoring at least twice in six of their seven home games and 28 in their last 10 Ewood fixtures.

"When you play against quality teams you have to be careful of them coming to your pitch and letting them just do what they want and play too deep and let them have the ball," Mowbray said of the approach.

"I'm sure they've watched us and won't expect us to let them just totally dominate the football match, yet the danger is we're too positive and they play through it and they get their top scoring striker into the box because they have played through our strikers and our midfield players and the front press.

"There's the danger. The conundrum for us is how hard we press, or do we sit and try and stop the top scorer in the league and have lots of bodies around him. Hopefully we get the balance right.

"We'll try and be positive at home as always, high quality can push you back and you have to work hard and we have to try and score on transition and we'll see how the game unfolds."

Fulham trail unbeaten league leaders Bournemouth by five points and were beaten 4-1 by Coventry City on their travels last month.

They have since responded with four successive wins, with 13 goals scored and only one conceded, but Mowbray doesn't see Rovers' task as insurmountable.

"Fulham have been up and down, it's not as if they're invincible," he added.

"They have lost football matches this year, so it gives you a mindset that you know if you play well and at the maximum we can get something from them.

"They're second in the league but they are beatable, as Coventry showed, yet the next away game they went and beat Nottingham Forest 4-0."


Blackburn Matchday Preview

Blackburn Rovers v Fulham | Wednesday 3rd November | 7.45pm | Ewood Park | #BLAFUL

The opposition

    Rovers have found consistency quite hard to come by this season, winning six, drawing five, and losing four of their opening 15 outings.
    That said, they have managed to string consecutive wins together for the first time this season in their last two games, following up a 2-0 victory over Reading at Ewood Park with a narrow 2-1 success in Derby at the weekend to move seventh in the table.
    Aleksandar Mitrović aside, Blackburn boast the Championship's top scorer in Ben Brereton Diaz, who has 12 goals to his name. Brereton Diaz's international story is a truly remarkable one, with a fan noticing he was eligible to represent Chile while playing Football Manager, and a subsequent campaign being launched for him to get a call-up. Since then, the forward has scored three times in eight appearances for the country of his mother's birth.

Blackburn team news

Sam Gallagher will need to be assessed after coming off injured against Derby County, though Ryan Nyambe could return. Calf injuries continue to rule out Daniel Ayala and Harry Pickering.

Fulham team news

Tosin serves the first of a three-game ban, while we will also be without Ivan Cavaleiro, Nathaniel Chalobah and Tyrese Francois.


Advance tickets are no longer available to purchase, but fans will be able to buy tickets on the night from the Away Ticket Office at the Darwen End, with no price increase.


It will be dry but chilly in Blackburn, with temperatures around six degrees at kick-off.


As this match is being shown on Sky Sports, we are not permitted to stream it. Live commentary will be available on FFCtv, though.

Player insight

Harry Wilson knows Fulham will be in for a battle as we aim to make it five wins on the spin.

"It's going to be a very tough game," he told FFCtv. "They're on a good run at the minute off the back of a good away win at the weekend, so it's up to us to prepare right and go up there ready to put in a good performance."


Blackburn: LDLWW

Fulham: LWWWW

Pre-match quotes

"I've said for a long, long time, I think our team can beat anyone at home, and the test is coming with Fulham and Sheffield United back-to-back."

Tony Mowbray
Blackburn Rovers Manager

"They have a lot of individual quality and it's always a tough place to play. I believe they can match us, and I think it's a game that if we don't play to our best, compact and not with a good balance, then we will have problems."

Marco Silva
Fulham Head Coach


What does the future hold for Fabio Carvalho at Fulham?

Fulham midfielder Fabio Carvalho has had a lot of speculation swirl around his head of late and it appears that things are only actually going to increase ahead of the January window in a couple of months.

The attacking midfielder started this season in the Sky Bet Championship well and looked as though he could be a key component for Fulham in terms of their promotion challenge.

Injuries and illness have stunted things for him in the weeks since, however, and instead we've seen more headlines concerning off-field matters and his future generated compared to anything he has done on the pitch.

A player of his talent and potential is naturally going to attract interest and, with his contract running down at the end of this season, Fulham were always at risk of losing the player on the cheap – something that now looks a particularly stark possibility.

The Sun has reported this week that the player has rejected the club's latest offer – described as 'massive' by Craven Cottage sources – and he could now leave as early as January with the Whites reportedly now resigned to losing him.

Where he ends up should he leave SW6 is anyone's guess, meanwhile.

The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked with him considerably since the summer whilst this site has been told that Liverpool and Southampton are among those closer to home that have shown an interest in potentially signing him.

Clearly, his future is now very much up in the air after this latest contract rejection and it now seems to be all about which possible destination makes him an offer that he, and his advisors, deem good enough.

Of course, u-turns can happen and Carvalho's exit is not a done deal yet, but it has been heading in this direction for some time and you have to imagine the likeliest scenario is a when and not an if in terms of his departure now.


Blackburn Rovers team news emerges ahead of Fulham test – three players doubtful
Blackburn Rovers welcome Fulham in the Championship this evening.

Marco Silva takes his Fulham side to Ewood Park tonight, as he looks to close the gap on unbeaten league leaders Bournemouth.

The Whites sit in 2nd-place ahead of tonight and Rovers in 9th after back-to-back wins in the Championship, against Reading and Derby County respectively.

Fulham meanwhile have won their last four, scoring 13 and conceding just once in those four as well, with star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic now on 18 Championship gols for the season after his hat-trick v West Brom last time out.

A tough game for Tony Mowbray's side tonight, and he could be without a number of players.

As per, Harry Pickering (calf), Daniel Ayala (calf) and Ryan Nyambe (hamstring) are all 'doubts' for tonight's game after all three missed out on the weekend win at Pride Park owing to injury.

Elsewhere, Bradley Dack remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury.

The same report from goes on to reveal how Tayo Edun is 'expected to keep his place' on the left side of defence and that Brighton loanee Jan Paul van Hecke is also likely to keep his place in the middle of defence.

Pickering, Ayala and Nyambe are all defensive injuries for Rovers and so it could mean that Mowbray is forced to field a somewhat makeshift defence in the coming weeks.

Nevertheless, his side continue to prove prolific in attack with Ben Brereton Diaz now on 12 Championship goals for the season – the second-highest scorer in the division behind Mitrovic.

Rovers will need to be at their very best to keep the Serbian striker at bay tonight, and to also breach the Fulham defence. But it has been done this season – Fulham have picked up some sloppy defeats against the likes of Reading and Blackpool and so the trip to Ewood Park tonight will also be a test of their mettle.


Real Madrid-linked Fabio Carvalho 'turns down Fulham offer'

Fulham have reportedly been dealt a blow in their efforts to retain the services of youngster Fabio Carvalho.

The 19-year-old starred for the Cottagers during the early weeks of the season, contributing three goals and an assist in five Championship appearances.

However, at a time when he has less than a year remaining on his contract, speculation persists that Real Madrid are keen on signing the prospect in 2022.

According to The Sun, Fulham have offered Carvalho a "massive" long-term deal to continue his development in West London.

As it stands, that proposal has been turned down, and the second-tier side currently have no plans to put together another offer.

If Carvalho reaches January without penning fresh terms, Real Madrid or other foreign clubs will be in a position to hold formal discussions with the England Under-18 international.


Fabio Carvalho could follow Joe Gelhardt example at Leeds United as he rejects Fulham contract

Carvalho was linked with a move to Elland Road in the summer and has rejected Fulham's latest contract offer

Leeds United were one of a number of clubs that were linked with a summer move for teenaged Fulham midfielder Fabio Carvalho.

According to the MailOnline, Leeds, West Ham United, Norwich City and Porto were all credited with an interest in signing Carvalho earlier this year following his breakthrough into the Fulham first team.

And with the Sun now reporting that the 19-year-old has rejected a sizeable contract offer from the Cottagers, the Whites have received a boost in their potential pursuit of the attacking midfielder.

Carvalho's contract at Craven Cottage is set to expire at the end of the season and with Fulham now unlikely to return with another offer, Leeds could pounce in January for what could be a cut price deal.

After shining in Premier League Two with 11 goals and six assists in just 13 appearances, former Fulham boss Scott Parker handed him his opportunity in the first team at the back end of last season.

It did not take Carvalho long to make an impact either as he netted a goal on his debut in a 3-1 defeat to Southampton at St. Mary's.

Despite Parker's departure, Carvalho has managed to take last season's fine form into the new campaign under Marco Silva in the Championship.

He scored three goals and provided one assist in Fulham's opening five matches of the season until a combination of injury and Covid-19 halted his momentum.

Carvalho finally returned to the field as a late substitute at the weekend against West Bromwich Albion but after his rejection of a new deal, it remains to be seen how Silva uses him from now until January.

With a number of clubs now likely to be on red alert regarding his situation, Carvalho will have a big decision to make on his next move with several variables to consider.

It is clear that the England youth international is keen to play top-flight football again but after his taste of first team action in West London, it is likely he would want to go to a club who can provide him minutes in senior football.

Taking those factors into consideration, then Leeds could just be the perfect destination for him, with the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Crysencio Summerville and most recently Cody Drameh prime examples of that.

While the trio have had to bide their time for first team football, all three are now options that Marcelo Bielsa is happy to use from the bench and in the coming weeks they will be hopeful a Premier League start is not too far away.

But where Carvalho has a slight head start is the impact he has already made in senior football, suggesting he is a player that can come in and hit the ground running almost straight away.

Another reason a move to Leeds could be the most appealing is the lack of out and out number 10 in the squad.

Rodrigo is the preferred option in that area at the moment, but he was almost certainly brought to the club last summer to compete with Patrick Bamford up front.

Fellow interested side West Ham on the other hand boast an abundance of talent in that area of the field, with Pablo Fornals, Said Benrahma, Nikola Vlasic and Manuel Lanzini all options at David Moyes' disposal.

Although the prospect of moving to a European giant like Real Madrid, who are also reportedly monitoring the situation maybe tempting, the lure of Premier League football and a clear pathway to the first team could make Leeds the most appealing destination for Carvalho at this stage of his career.


Szmodics Hoping To Take Positives Into Fulham Fixture

Sammie Szmodics insists Posh are hard to beat at home ahead of another big Championship clash on Saturday.

Sponsors Man of the Match heaps praise on others after hard fought draw with Huddersfield Town.

"I don't know who was voting for the Man of the Match, but I will definitely take it," said a modest Sammie Szmodics after Peterborough United fought back from a goal down to earn a point against an in-form Huddersfield Town side at the Weston Homes Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Szmodics was once again full of running and it is that effort and commitment that played a big part in the team recording another point on the board. It was Jonson Clarke-Harris who earned that share of the spoils in the final 10 minutes after Danny Ward had converted from close-range for the Terriers as Posh struggled to clear a set-piece.

"We know that we have conceded another sloppy set-piece goal, but we have bounced back at home again and a point is big in the Championship," Szmodics said. "We have a bite in our home games, we know that we are hard to beat. Jonson Clarke-Harris is a handful and he helped change the game and he definitely deserved his goal.

"I always give 100 per cent in games, maybe that is what the sponsors spot (in terms of his man of the match award), there were others maybe who I felt should have got it, but I will take it. It is hard at this level to score goals and create goals, I just make sure that I work hard for the team and hopefully that helps.

"We grinded out the result. I think the first half was okay, we were better in the second half. The press was right. We take the point and move forward to another massive game on Saturday against Fulham. Our home record has been excellent, we know that we have to sort out the away form and I am sure that is in hand.

"For me personally, it is great to be playing in the Championship. The birth of my daughter meant I missed three games and it was hard to get back in and when Jonson picked up his suspension, I had to adapt a little bit in terms of the position I was playing, but it was the same for Siriki Dembele as well. We are not number nines, but we did the job for the team, now we have our number nine back and you can see what a handful he is," Szmodics said.

Tickets for Saturday's game against Fulham are available at and via the Weston Homes Stadium Box Office. Fulham have already sold over 2,500 tickets for the game and will occupy the Deskgo Stand and Blocks A and B of the North Stand.


Blackburn Rovers predicted line-up vs Fulham as Tony Mowbray seeks Sam Gallagher alternative

Sam Gallagher is a doubt for Blackburn Rovers' clash with Fulham in the Championship

Blackburn Rovers are likely to be without Sam Gallagher for the home game with high-flying Fulham tonight and it could see John Buckley pushed further forward.

The youngster has had an impressive start to the season and his versatility is a key attribute for Tony Mowbray.

Gallagher's absence opens up the prospect of Buckley playing in front of Ryan Nyambe as a wide attacker alongside the prolific Ben Brereton and the prodigious Tyrhys Dolan.

Joe Rothwell is another who could move wide if Nyambe isn't risked with Mowbray having praised Buckley's ability on the right side of defence.

Rovers welcome the Cottagers on the back of a weekend win at Derby County and could climb into the top six if they were to inflict a fourth defeat of the Championship campaign on their visitors.

Defensive duo Harry Pickering and Daniel Ayala are out injured and Mowbray could turn to a number of his youngsters to fill the bench.

Joe Rankin-Costello made his return from six months out at Derby although he was unused sub while the likes of Dan Butterworth and Hayden Carter could be involved in the squad.

Predicted Rovers line-up: (4-3-3) Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Van Hecke, Edun; Johnson, Travis, Rothwell; Dolan, Brereton, Buckley

Rovers old boy Tom Cairney is set to feature for Fulham with their boss Marco Silva anticipating a difficult trip to Ewood Park.

"I expect it to be a tough, a very tough game," he said.

"If you look and you analyse them, they score a lot of goals at home. If you look at the number of goals that they have scored, they are very close to the teams at the top of the table, which means that they have the capacity to create and to score goals.

"They have a lot of individual quality as well and it's always a tough place to play. I believe they can match us, and I think it's a game that if we don't play to our best, compact and not with a good balance, then we will have problems."


Virals: Liverpool 'in the frame' to sign Fulham starlet Fabio Carvalho

Liverpool are reportedly 'in the frame' to sign Fulham wonderkid Fabio Carvalho.

The Reds have once again been named among the suitors alongside Southampton after the 19-year-old rejected a new contract at Craven Cottage.

Born in Portugal, Carvalho has represented England at various youth levels and looks to have a bright future.

The playmaker has seemingly set his stall out regarding his future and journalist for The Athletic, Peter Rutzler, has claimed the teenager is destined to move on to pastures new.

Now, according to a fresh report from Football League World, Liverpool are hoping to steal yet another talented youngster off Fulham having signed Harvey Elliott in 2019.

Prior to injury and fitness concerns, the starlet described as 'fantastic' by Marco Silva, had scored three times and registered one assist in the opening five Championship fixtures.


Carvalho is already showing promising signs of being a player ready to make a breakthrough at the very top level.

Albeit predominantly an attacking midfielder from central positions, the teen sensational is equally adept in a variety of roles across the pitch.

Boasting strong key passing, dribbling and finishing ability (Sofascore), the opportunity to sign Carvalho for free at the end of the season shouldn't pass Liverpool by.


Ex-Blackburn Rovers, Fulham star Damien Duff lands first managerial role

Damien Duff, formerly of Blackburn Rovers and Fulham, has landed his first senior management role with Irish outfit Shelbourne.

42-year-old Damien Duff has spent time working as a youth coach and assistant manager since his retirement in 2014, spending time with Shamrock Rovers, Celtic, the Republic of Ireland and most recently, Shelbourne.

Now, after around a year-and-a-half as a youth coach with Shelbourne, the club have confirmed his appointment as first-team head coach.

As confirmed on the club's official website, former Blackburn Rovers and Fulham star Duff takes over ahead of the 2022 Premier Division following the departure of Ian Morris last month.

Playing pedigree
The Ballyboden-born coach heads into his first foray into senior management with an esteemed playing career behind him.

After starting out in St. Kevins Boys' youth academy, Duff joined Blackburn Rovers in 1995. He would remain at Ewood Park for eight years, playing 157 times after working his way through the youth ranks. He chipped in with 26 goals and four assists before being snapped up by Chelsea in 2003.

A three-year stint at Chelsea saw him play 125 times, winning the Premier League twice before departing for Newcastle United.

Duff remained with the Magpies for three years before switching to Fulham, where he would stay for the next five years. With the Cottagers, the winger played 173 times, the most appearances he made for a single club across his career. In the process, he scored 22 goals and laid on 30 assists.

He then rounded off a successful career with stints at Melbourne City and Shamrock Rovers before entering coaching.

A new challenge
As he steps into first-team management for the first time, Damien Duff will have the backing of Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and plenty of other supporters.

It will be interesting to see how he fares with Shelbourne as he enters the next stage of his career in football.

WhiteJC Maldini sensing an opportunity as Fulham sensation rejects 'huge' new deal

AC Milan are interested in signing Fulham playmaker Fabio Carvalho as he continues to reject a contract extension, according to a report.

A report from – who cite The Sun – claims that Carvalho has refused an offer defined as 'huge' for the renewal of his contract, which is expiring in June 2022. That is why Fulham might try to monetise his sale in the winter transfer window, the Italian source claims.

The Portuguese teenager has ended up on the radar of Milan given that Geoffrey Moncada and the scouting department are always scouring the market for young talent, but Real Madrid have also taken note of the fact he has scored three goals in six Championship games for Cottagers.

The Rossoneri are following him closely, while manager Marco Silva gave him an ultimatum: "He must decide as soon as possible what he wants for his future, but now it is important not to disturb him in this period. I hope that those around him will advise him in the right way."

The report concludes my confirming that Carvalho has rejected the latest contract offer from Fulham and it will now be up to the player to decide, with Paolo Maldini in particular sensing an opportunity.


Fulham: Fans left furious as Fabio Carvalho contract claims emerge

Lots of Fulham fans have been left fuming at an update that has come out surrounding the future of youngster Fabio Carvalho.

The 19-year-old midfielder had shown promise when it came to being part of the Fulham side this season, managing to bag three goals in his five Championship appearances before suffering an injury that kept him out of the side for some time.

This was after showing promise last season as well, scoring 11 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions for the U23 side whilst also breaking through to the senior side and scoring a goal in the Premier League.

However, it looks as if his time at the club could be about to come to an end, with journalist Tom Barclay reporting that he has turned down a 'sizeable contract offer' from the club – news which left plenty of fans enraged when they saw it come across their Twitter feeds:

"This is peak Tony Khan"
"No more game time please. Off to the U18's bench to keep the end of it warm."
"Disappointed with him tbh. Thought he was smarter than that"
"If this is true he needs to be left out not sent to u23 or u18 sent to train at Balham common where he was found. Kick in the teeth to the club that made him and the youth coaches at Balham that got him in at fulham."
"There genuinely is no point having an academy is there? Dembele, Elliot, Roberts, and Carvalho now. Project Fulham B team, let's go."
"Good riddance, hope his career goes down the toilet! youngsters never learn. Should look at what happened to sess....."
"Really disappointing. First team football with manager who believes in him. Seems similar situation to Patrick Roberts"

With a number of clubs showing an interest in picking him up next summer when his contract expires, this puts Fulham in a rather difficult position when it comes to what they do with him in January.


Up next: Blackburn Rovers (a)

Four consecutive wins and comfortably consolidating second spot in the Championship means that Fulham pitch up at Ewood Park tonight in good spirits. Marco Silva's side have responded impressively to that dismal second half surrender at Coventry before the international break, by showing glimpses of their early season flair whilst tightening up considerably at the back. Their recent revival will face a stern examination at improving Blackburn Rovers tonight, who boast an experienced manager, an impressive home record and an array of threats in their forward line.

The feelgood factor that followed Saturday lunchtime's triumph over third-placed West Brom in the Craven Cottage sunshine has been punctured somewhat by yesterday's news that Fabio Carvalho has rejected a 'substantial' contract offer from the club. The prodigiously talented teenager has admirers from across Europe as well as a clutch of Premier League clubs – and the failure to secure his long-term future since the summer hinted at this disappointing. It will be a test of Silva's man management in how he deploys Carvalho, who clearly adds dynamism and quality to this side in the final third, for the remainder of the season.

The most pressing concern, however, ahead of tonight's fixture is how the head coach will respond to the absence of Tosin Adarabioyo, after the defender's needless lunch at Grady Diangana in the closing stages of the win over West Brom. He misses out on a return to Ewood Park, where he enjoyed a successful loan spell, and will be unavailable for two further matches to boot. The last time Alfie Mawson appeared in Fulham's back four was on that awful afternoon at Coventry, whilst Michael Hector has replaced the former Swansea defender on the substitutes bench in our last two fixtures. Denis Odoi, who has filled in at right back for Kenny Tete so well in recent months, could slide across into a centre back berth – but it is probably best to leave that experiment back in 2018.

My hunch is that Hector, so commanding at the tail end of the Scott Parker promotion campaign, will get the nod alongside Tim Ream this evening. He has plenty of experience of the Championship and is most comfortable of the three in the right sided centre back slot. Hector's only outings at club level this season have come in the League Cup and we will have to hope that his wretched start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, where Fulham conceded ten goals in just under four hours of football, is firmly behind him. Silva may also bring back a fit again Tete, who will provide pace and quality, at either end of the pitch to offer greater defensive solidity.

The visiting defence will need to be on their mettle because Rovers will be full of confidence themselves having won consecutive contests for the first time this season. They followed up a 2-0 win over Reading with a 2-1 win at Derby, where the in-form Ben Brereton-Diaz scored twice, to move within a whisker of the play-off places. The Chilean international, whose meteoric rise to become the toast of Santiago is one of the division's most improbable stories, has twelve goals already this season and will be even more pivotal to the hosts' tonight given the expected absence of Sam Gallagher.

Mowbray will also be sweating on a fitness test for Harry Pickering, who has been troubled by a calf complaint. If he fails it, Tayo Edun – who came through the Fulham academy and made seven senior appearances – should step up at left back again after his summer arrival in Lancashire from Lincoln City. Rovers will be a tough nut to crack on their home ground – they have lost just once in seven league games at Ewood Park this season – and have become more miserly at the back in recent weeks after conceding goals with an alarming regularity at the start of the campaign.

It will be interesting to see how Silva structures his side in the forward areas this evening. Both Neeskens Kebano and Harry Wilson have proved their worth as wide attacking threats in recent weeks and Bobby Decordova-Reid's energy was demonstrably important in unsettling West Brom when Fulham were out of possession at the weekend. But there is clearly more than a sentimental case for offering Tom Cairney, who made 85 appearances in two seasons with Blackburn, a chance to return to the starting line-up this evening. He offers incisive passes, protects the ball well, and the ability to unlock a stubborn rearguard might prove invaluable. Whether he displaces a former Rovers loanee in Harrison Reed or plays in the more natural number ten position, remains to be seen.

MY FULHAM XI (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Tete, Robinson, Hector, Ream; Reed, Seri; Wilson, Kebano, Cairney; Mitrovic. Subs: Gazzaniga, Odoi, Mawson, Onomah, Decordova-Reid, Stansfield, Muniz.


In defence of Fábio Carvalho
After yesterday's news that Fulham's latest academy jewel had turned down a new contract, and the explosive fallout that followed, Jack J Collins looks at why this keeps happening to young stars at the Cottage.

There was a visceral reaction to the news yesterday that Fábio Carvalho has reportedly turned down a new contract offer from Fulham, which is understandable. Given what the Fulham fanbase has seen happen with Harvey Elliott, Moussa Dembele, Patrick Roberts, Emerson Hyndman, and so on; every youth prospect leaving for pastures new, especially those who walk away for free, feels like a body blow to the fanbase.

The first point I'd like to make is that we're quick to jump to conclusions. Not so long ago, we were told by people involved in the negotiations that Fábio was changing agents at the end of the year, and that no decisions regarding his contract would be made until that point. We're very much not at that point. This doesn't really mean anything either way, but I would be surprised if any hard guarantees have been given with that all still in the balance, at this point. But enough on the logistics, let's look at the situation in front of us.

Straight out of the blocks
Carvalho has been a revelation since he was given his chance in the first team by Scott Parker towards the back end of last season. He scored his first Premier League goal against Southampton, on his first Premier League start; before taking a leap under Marco Silva and becoming a bona-fide first-team starter at the beginning of the current season. Indeed, the first five games of the season saw him notch three goals and an assist, as he played all but 44 of 450 available minutes.

A selection of injuries and illnesses have kept him out since then, but he made his return in the last few minutes against West Brom, where the Hammersmith End belted his name pretty much every time he came into the attacking half of the pitch. There was fervour to that – his contract situation has been up in the air for a little while, and the Fulham faithful wanted him to know that he was much-loved and supported at the club where he has spent the last seven years.

So the argument is there: Why would you want to move right now when you have a place in the first team, with a coaching staff who clearly want to work with you, who speak your native Portuguese tongue, and you're being offered a serious amount of money, especially for a youngster. Fulham are not a side who refuse to sell players, so if it comes good, then the jump up to a higher level is going to be there for you, right? As controversial as it sounds, I have a bit more sympathy for Fábio's situation here, and I really don't think this is all about money.

Warning signs
We've got to face facts at some point – Fulham have an awful track record at giving our youth team prospects minutes in the first team, especially in the Premier League. Last season, we gave just 0.3% of our minutes to academy products – Marek Rodák and Carvalho – and it's to Rodák's story that I look to in the reasoning as to why Fábio might be reticent to sign a new deal with the club.

Roll it back to 2019/20, and Marek Rodák was a Fulham starboy. He'd taken the goalkeeper gloves off Marcus Bettinelli, at just 22 years old, and had made the spot his own – keeping 14 clean sheets as we battled up the table, into the play-offs, and onto promotion.

He had earned his spot, and his chance, the fanbase said. So did Scott Parker. And yet, with Alphonse Areola brought in, Rodák had to settle for just two starts in the league – the first and last games of the season. Now, this isn't saying that's the wrong decision – Areola is a world-class goalkeeper who was imperative to pretty much all of the positives that Fulham found last year in the Premier League – but what does it say to Carvalho? Sign the contract, get us promoted, and we'll loan in a replacement who will severely limit your minutes in the league you helped get us to?

Devil in the details
From what I've been able to unearth, one of the sticking points in contract negotiations has been a guarantee of minutes, especially if Fulham were to get promoted. That's a tricky ask – you can't really write into a contract that a player must be given a certain amount of minutes (unless it's a loan deal, in which case you are allowed to up your fee if a certain limit isn't reached), because that hugely undermines the manager's decision making power and also, means that you can't factor form into the equation. But in this case in particular, it's important.

You can point to the fact that he's playing this season, but Carvalho only has to look at the previous evidence in front of him to see that it's hardly a guarantee that things will continue in the same vein. Rodák aside, you only have to look at the last few promoted seasons to see how quickly things can change at Fulham.

In 2018/19, the only regular surviving players from the play-off winning final were Mitrovic, Ream, Sessegnon and Cairney; and in 2020/21 were Reed, BDR and Cavaleiro. It's not a great strike rate, and even the most ardent Fulham fan would struggle to tell you that it's not a risk, with your career blooming ahead of you. Stefan Johansen, Norway captain, was cast aside in 18/19. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Championship top scorer, was cast aside in 20/21. There's little room for sentiment here, when you look at who has found themselves looking on from the bench, or beyond.

Even this year, Tyrese François – Carvalho's pal – started the season in the first-team picture, but with the additions of Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina on deadline day, as well as the return from injury for Tom Cairney and Harrison Reed, his opportunities have been squeezed out. We learned last month that François had turned down a new contract offer from the club, and to be quite frank, it's hard not to think 'fair enough'.

There is reason for the turnover of players that makes this tricky – the constant turmoil of promotion and relegation fights are not the most fertile of soil for any manager to plant the seeds of youth in. The pressure to go up, or stay up, means that many turn to experience and to proven players in order to give them the best fighting chance of staying in the job, and you can sympathise. If Marco Silva fails to get this Fulham side promoted, there will be many calling for his head – that's the weight of expectation. But this lack of opportunities for youth prospects, and the fallout that brings, is part of that parcel.

Finding inspiration elsewhere
For Carvalho, that means one of two things if he does make the decision to leave the Cottage. He can see the route that Harvey Elliott took, and think that training every day with an elite-level club in the mould of Liverpool or Manchester City would do much and more for his development, prior to breaking into any first teams. He will look at the path carved out by Phil Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and now by Cole Palmer or Curtis Jones, and think that shadowing senior players in training and learning from them, might be the best possible route for him to get to the top. Remember, this is a kid who told The Athletic that he foresees himself winning the Ballon d'Or. It might be early, but the confidence and desire to be the very best is clearly visible.

Or, he can go to a lower-tier club in the Premier League, where their league position is a little bit more stable than Fulham's has been of late. He might look at Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace and see Ebere Eze, Michael Olise and Tyreek Mitchell in the first team picture. He might see Ben Johnson emerging at West Ham United, or Joe Gelhardt, Jamie Shackleton and Pascal Struijk at Leeds. Or he might look a little bit further afield and see what Noni Madueke is achieving at PSV Eindhoven, or Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund, or Fikayo Tomori at AC Milan.

I love Fábio Carvalho. I would love to see him stay at Fulham, develop and get the minutes he desires here at the Cottage, and go on to achieve the greatness he desires within the game – leaving on hero terms, if he has to leave at all. But I can't look at this process, look at the history, look at how things have panned out in the past, and blame him for thinking that the key to unlocking his future might lie elsewhere – and that he might be cast aside if Fulham are (as we hope) to get promoted again.

It's a tough pill to swallow, but perhaps we have to look inwards at the club processes and structures, the pipelines between academy and first team, and the way our expectations lie in terms of signings, before we look at young players who don't see their future here, and wish them ill for wanting away.


Aston Villa may live to regret this €15m transfer decision

Aston Villa were heavily linked with several midfield reinforcements throughout the summer and one of their targets has since gone on to thrive for a European giant

Aston Villa were heavily linked with several names throughout the summer but one that made a lot of sense was Fulham's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Anguissa eventually sealed a loan move to Serie A giants Napoli and has excelled in his time there so far.

The European giants are said to be "delighted" by the impact the midfielder has made in his short spell at the club. He has made a total of nine appearances for his new team who currently sit first in the league and has contributed in a number of ways.

According to Calciomercato (via ESPN), Napoli bosses have been impressed by Anguissa's solid performances in midfield, as he has anchored the team and allowed the attacking talents of Lorenzo Insigne and Victor Osimhen to flourish.

He has been so effective that they are apparently already eager to make his move a permanent one, with a fee of €15million (£12.8m) quoted to acquire his services.

Many Villa fans were pleading for the club to sign a midfield "enforcer" and Anguissa would have fit the mould perfectly.

He is averaging almost six progressive carries a game as well as three tackles and two interceptions. He is a well-rounded midfielder and could've been exactly what the current Villa midfield needed.

The hierarchy at Villa opted against further investment in this area. However, due to recent injuries to Morgan Sanson, Jacob Ramsey and several below par performances from the midfield, fans are beginning to question whether this was the right choice.

A recent survey conducted by Birmingham Live poses this exact question: "Was it a mistake for Villa not to sign an additional midfielder in the summer?"

A resounding 76.8% of voters suggested it was a mistake for Villa to pass up on players such as Cheick Doucoure, Anguissa and Boubacar Kamara, who were all heavily linked in the summer.

Villa have an array of attacking talent at their disposal but are struggling to include them all in an effective match day line-up.

The formation that would allow Villa to play the likes of Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendia and Danny Ings all together would be the 4-2-3-1. But as the Watford game displays, Villa are left susceptible defensively due to the lack of an enforcer in midfield.