The success of Fulham’s off-season will largely depend on how many of their stars they manage to keep hold of. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele have been mentioned as potential targets for the Premier League’s big boys and obviously going into the new season without them wouldn’t be ideal. Without having a huge war-chest, Martin Jol has recruited well and a couple of the other players linked with a move such as Ryan Babel and Romelu Lukaku, on loan, wouldn’t be the biggest of risks. All in all it’s been good, but until the transfer window closes, nothing will be taken for granted.
Something to be positive about
In the first few weeks of last season, the appointment of Jol looked like the most questionable decision Mohamed Al-Fayed made in a while. That’s really saying something just months after he decided to plonk a Michael Jackson statue outside the ground. After a slow start, things improved and Fulham finished level on points with Liverpool. Granted that’s not the challenge it once, but it was progress. The signings of Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric aren’t pulse-cranker-uppers, but they could be prove to be quietly shrewd.
Something to be a bit worried about
It’s all looking pretty good for Fulham. Providing they can hold on to Dempsey and Dembele, the season should go well and even if they lose one of the two, they should still clear of relegation. If you’re an ultra-pessimistic Cottager, then maybe you could view the loss of Danny Murphy as a concern, but in truth his influence had waned in the last couple of seasons.
An optimistic season bet
Jol has built a solid defensive foundation upon which shouldn’t crumble, even if they do lose one or two of their stars. If you can leave aside the semantic issues related to it, backing Fulham at 10/1 without the Big Six is a good idea.
A more realistic season bet
6/4 to finish in the Top 10. They’ve done it in three of the last four seasons. Is it really that unlikely?
Mladen Petric (Hamburg, free)
George Williams (MK Dons, undisclosed)
Hugo Rodallega (Wigan, free)
SaschaRiether (Cologne, loan)
Packing their bags
Andrew Johnson (QPR, free)
Danny Murphy (Blackburn, free)
Bjorn Helge Riise (released)
Orlando Sa (released)