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Fulham must avoid a Ragnar Sigurdsson-esque mistake this summer

Ragnar Sigurdsson
Photo: Getty Images

Fulham

Fulham must avoid a Ragnar Sigurdsson-esque mistake this summer

The Cottagers must be careful how they approach the post-World Cup transfer market.

One of the joys of international tournaments is the unearthing of unheralded talents, yet many have a propensity to over-exaggerate players’ abilities and idolise unproven footballers who happen to have a good month.

Fulham must be wary of falling into this transfer hype yet again, as evidenced by their misguided signing of Euro 2016 star Ragnar Sigurdsson.

The purchase of the Icelandic centre-half is the perfect example of buying a player on the back of an impressive international tournament, only to see the signing flounder when he joined his new club.

Back in the summer of 2016, Sigurdsson drew plaudits for his outstanding defensive performances at the heart of the heroic Icelandic backline.

Most notably, Sigurdsson grabbed a goal in his country’s famous knockout victory over England, truly announcing himself to the British public. 

A month and a half later, he arrived at Motspur Park and signed a three year deal with Fulham. Surely, common reasoning went, a player who excelled against Europe’s elite would be at least an effective player for the Whites in the Championship.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Yet, far from marshalling the Fulham defence with authority, Sigurdsson looked woefully off the pace at Craven Cottage and his performances were filled with lethargy, uncertainty, and costly mistakes.

 

In his only full season with Fulham, Sigurdsson made just 17 league appearances that resulted in three clean sheets.

Although there were some occasional bright moments, such as a Boxing Day goal away at Ipswich, Sigurdsson largely flattered to deceive at Craven Cottage and failed to establish himself as a convincing presence at the back.

The most embarrassing moment of his Fulham career came during a seemingly innocuous July 2017 friendly against Chelsea.

Sigurdsson marshalled a backline that was on the receiving end of an 8-2 thrashing by Fulham’s west London neighbours – a fitting end to the Iceland international’s forgettable time in SW6.

Behind the likes of Tomas Kalas, Tim Ream, and Denis Odoi in the centre of defence, Sigurdsson was shipped out on loan to Rostov at the start of the 2017/18 season, a move he made permanent in January.

Ragnar Sigurdsson remains a cautionary tale for eager Fulham fans yearning for the signing of a breakout World Cup star, as such a purchase can often be a risk not worth taking.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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