Over the past week, Fulham announced some fantastic news. No, not new signings, but the next best thing.
Two of the Whites’ most valuable players, Tom Cairney and Tim Ream, extended their contracts and secured their futures at Craven Cottage.
Both are fundamental to Fulham’s swaggering, possession-based style, and their new deals hopefully represent a teaser for the Cottagers’ ambitious transfer window to come.
Although the club still has not signed a transfer target yet this summer, the new deals should give supporters reason to remain optimistic.
While rumours of new transfers swirl anew as the World Cup enters its closing stages, Fulham have done the reasonable thing and solidified their current squad before looking to expand in the transfer market.
Cairney signed an improved five-year deal that keeps him at the Cottage until 2023, a richly-deserved contract that rightly put to bed the links with West Ham United.
Fulham’s captain is at the heart of everything the club does and is one of the team’s longest-serving players. He served admirably through the relegation-threatened season in 2015/16 and became one of the best players in the Championship the following season.
He promised Fulham fans promotion and achieved it a year later, scoring the priceless goal in the play-off final that sent the Whites up.
Tim Ream has been just as influential in Fulham’s promotion heroics and was rewarded with a fresh two-year deal. Signed in the same season as Cairney, Ream has turned himself into not only the best defender at the club, but the best player.
The centre-back enjoyed a career season in 2017/18, gracing the pitch with his cool, calm, collected, and commanding performances. Always strong in the challenge, imperious in the air, and assured in his distribution, Ream justifiably won the club’s Player of the Season award by a landslide.
Now that Ream and Cairney are tied down in SW6 for the foreseeable future, Fulham can enter into the Premier League with their promotion-winning spine intact.
Tony Khan and the club hierarchy should be applauded for fending off outside interest and keeping their best players at the Cottage, moves which are just as valuable as expensive signings.
But Fulham fans will no doubt be itching for marquee purchases in addition, and hopefully the new deals for Tom Cairney and Tim Ream are a precursor for intelligent investment in the coming weeks.