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Fulham need to tie down Slavisa Jokanovic amid Chelsea interest

Slavisa Jokanovic
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea

Fulham need to tie down Slavisa Jokanovic amid Chelsea interest

The Serbian has been linked with Stamford Bridge in recent weeks.

Fulham will have ramped up their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season after clinching promotion last weekend in the play-off final.

The Cottagers have the least time out of any team in next season’s competition and they can’t afford to be slow over the coming weeks, especially as the transfer window is closing earlier in 2018.

It is generally agreed that the London outfit have a good foundation from which to build on and their manager Slavisa Jokanovic is central to that.

However, speculation has emerged in recent days that he is catching the eye of a bigger club.

The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio reports that Chelsea have met with Jokanovic about the potential vacancy at Stamford Bridge.

The Serbian coach speaks the native tongue of Roman Abramovich and previously turned out for the Blues as a player.

The report goes on to state that the Fulham manager is a candidate for the post, but there are concerns about his lack of experience. Laurent Blanc and Maurizio Sarri are other figures that have been linked.

Chelsea are facing a crucial summer of rebuilding, but the question of who will be the manager next season has yet to be answered.

That is a huge concern and the fact that Jokanovic has emerged as a contender suggests that they haven’t been able to get in the man that they want.

The Fulham coach would represent an exciting option, but his managerial CV doesn’t scream Champions League manager and that is what the Blues have become accustomed to.

Although Chelsea supporters may not be delighted about the possibility of appointing Jokanovic, this rumour will be concerning for Fulham and their fans.

The Cottagers have returned to the Premier League after four seasons outside of the top-flight and their manager has been a key reason for their promotion.

He has established an entertaining style of play and used his connections to sign players that are above Championship standard.

A great example of Jokanovic’s influence in the transfer market was the loan signing of countryman Aleksandar Mitrovic.

It was a huge coup for Fulham and the striker appeared to be the missing piece of the jigsaw, as the team went on an excellent run of form after he joined.

The 23-year-old finished the season with 12 goals to his name and he will now go into the World Cup as a wanted man.

The Cottagers will want to get him signed to a permanent deal, but to do so, they will likely need their manager to stay at Craven Cottage.

Sky Sports report that Fulham are set to enter talks over a new contract and negotiations will start when he returns from holiday.

It is clear that the club know the value of their manager and want to put an end to exit rumours as soon as possible.

Jokanovic has previously been in conflict with the board over the transfer policy, as he believes his thoughts are often ignored. Those complaints quietened down in January, but they will still be on the mind of the manager.

He will use the interest from Chelsea to gain more influence at Craven Cottage before signing a new deal.

It is important that Fulham get this sorted as soon as possible. The interest at Chelsea may not be very serious, but Jokanovic is clever enough to use it to get the assurances that he needs to continue building the club in his image.

If this drags on, it could impact the club in the transfer market and that would be very damaging. It needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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