When asked last weekend if he felt Fulham were ‘ready’ for the big start in the Premier League, manager Marco Silva said what everyone was thinking in this particular corner in West London after a somewhat choppy window.
Silva sighed: “No, we as a team, we are not ready.” “I want to be clear with you; now, we have 16 great players on our squad. Nobody competes at that level with 16 great players on your team.
“I am really happy with this group of players we have. But everyone who understands football can see that we need at least five or six players.”
A repeat of 2020, when Fulham made a wave of signings late in the window after losing all four of their opening games, looks distinctly possible. But at least some movements are made, albeit belatedly.
Here are five players Fulham could – or maybe should Signed before the end of the month.
Justin Kluivert – Rome
There is a possibility that the high-heeled winger who ranked Europe’s hottest young talent in 2018 – yes, ahead of Gigi Donnarumma, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho – will officially be a Fulham player. Before Lifting the curtain on Saturday with Liverpool. Good chance at that.
The 23-year-old Kluivert is crying out for a fresh start after losing under Jose Mourinho in Rome. And according to Tuttomercatoweb, Fulham are now “very close” to agreeing a deal at a reduced price of £9m.
The former Ajax wonder star, who was once likened to Neymar due to his brilliance ability and his eye on goal, could make up for Harry Wilson’s loss through injury.
Joshua Zirkzee – Bayern Munich
Comparisons can certainly be made between Kluivert and Zirkzee. Two players who came to prominence as teenagers at the European giants, but did not live up to those high standards now in heaven over the next two seasons.
Zirkzee, at least, has breathed some new life into his delightful reputation on loan at Anderlecht, where he scored 18 times under Vincent Kompany last season.
Described by Joshua Kimmich as a ‘killer’ and ‘crazy’ talent by Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich will not stand in Zirkzee’s way as Fulham begin talks over a potential £10m deal.
According to The Standard, the one-time Everton target favors the Cottgers over Southampton and Bournemouth.
Nat Phillips – Liverpool
According to The Athletic, Fulham had bids on the table for at least four defenders at the start of August. One of those, Chelsea’s Malang Sarr, now appears to be on his way to Monaco. Meanwhile, Issa Diop may be stuck at West Ham at the moment after Nayef Aguerde underwent surgery following an ankle injury.
But Liverpool’s Nat Phillips feels, at least, it’s achievable.
Jurgen Klopp is not someone who keeps a player rarely seen against his will. Phillips – who played only one game for the Reds last season and featured Cruyff’s run that left Zlatan Ibrahimovic in awe – has spoken publicly of his desire to play football regularly in the Premier League at the age of 25.
According to Goal, Fulham will face competition from Philips Bournemouth’s former employer.
Ludovic Ajurk – Strasbourg
Sounds like a rather strange complaint. Especially considering that Aleksandar Mitrovich scored 43 goals last season. But the lack of goals elsewhere in Marco Silva’s squad is cause for real concern. Last season’s second-best scorer, Fabio Carvalho, is now at Liverpool. Wilson, meanwhile, is currently unemployed.
So the £18m Ajorque – who was spotted by Fulham over the course of the week, according to Sky Sports – should ease the burden on Mitrovic’s mile-wide shoulders. At 6 feet 6 inches, adding another old-school target would allow Silva to rest the Serbian spell without having to dramatically alter Fulham’s game plan.
Issa Diop – West Ham United
Yes, as noted earlier, talks between Fulham and West Ham have hit the border after Agered was injured two weeks ago. But the Morocco international should only miss the first few weeks of the new season, which means Diop’s deal could be reconsidered of late.
According to FootMercato, Fulham has already agreed to Diop’s terms. The former Toulouse captain is likely to take Tim Ream’s place as the left quarterback at Craven Cottage.
In other news, Arsenal agent’s £25m target for fresh talks has been set amid Man United’s rejected bid
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