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 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.
Three key takeaways from Crystal Palace’s transfer window
The summer transfer window drew to a close on Thursday.
Crystal Palace finished deadline day with the last-minute confirmation of the loan signing of Jordan Ayew from Swansea City. The Eagles finished the window with four total signings, but only spent a total of £9.5 million.
The south Londoners made do with a tight budget and held on to their crown jewel Wilfried Zaha, resulting in a successful summer. Here are three things we learnt from Palace’s transfer business.
Don’t believe the tabloid hype
The Wilfried Zaha saga was perhaps the most drawn out transfer rumour of the entire window, and as many Palace supporters had expected, it was completely unfounded.
Despite the numerous claims that Zaha had rejected a contract, was eager to leave to a supposedly bigger club, or was itching to play Champions League football, the Ivory Coast international remained at Selhurst Park.
The winger still has four years left on his contract, has spoken publicly about his love for the club, and will again be crucial to Crystal Palace’s success this season. Still an Eagle, Zaha’s status reveals the sensationalist nature of many tabloids that aim to create unrest when none is present.
Doing business on a budget is difficult, but not impossible
According to The Guardian, Palace’s transfer budget was restricted due to the high wages being paid to star players such as Mamadou Sahko and Christian Benteke. Yet, in the face of these barriers, the club managed to secure a number of canny deals at a low cost.
Ayew was brought in on loan, goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and midfielder Max Meyer were free transfers, and Cheikhou Kouyate was the only purchase of the summer at £9.5 million.
Four players of top quality for less than £10 million represents astute business, and Palace should be applauded for conducting decent deals on a shoestring budget.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s absence will be felt thanks to Chelsea‘s terrible transfer policy
Crystal Palace made it no secret that they were eager to bring Ruben Loftus-Cheek back to SE25 this summer, but unfortunately for both the club and player, Chelsea refused to let him leave.
On the face of it, it was an encouraging decision for Loftus-Cheek, as he would be finally handed consistent football at his parent club. Yet the loan signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid further pushes the England international down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, leaving many to wonder why Chelsea barred him from a return to Crystal Palace.
In the end, the Eagles will miss his presence in midfield and will undoubtedly be frustrated to watch Loftus-Cheek wasting away on the Chelsea bench.
One to watch: Derby County’s 19-year-old midfielder Mason Mount
Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
Mason Mount has arrived on loan at Derby County as a well-known quantity.
The Englishman spent a number of successful years in Chelsea’s youth academy, featuring under the Rams’ new assistant coach Jody Morris.
As a Blue, his progress has also been closely monitored by Derby’s new manager Frank Lampard, who was keen to bring Mount on loan after his stunning season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse.
“He’s creative, plays from central midfield in an attacking sense, scores, and creates goals,” Lampard said after the announcement that Mount would be joining Derby on loan this season.
These characteristics will be important for Derby who will once again be chasing promotion this season.
Mount is a dynamic threat in an attacking midfield role.
His ability to make correct decisions in attacking transition phases should prove crucial in unlocking the potential of the array of forward-thinking talent Lampard has at his disposal.
The 19-year-old is always looking to take risks to advance the ball and play attackers in behind the defence.
Similarly, he ensures routinely accurate delivery from set-pieces and is capable of scoring from dead ball situations himself.
Depending on the formation Lampard will look to play at Derby, Mount could also be suited to play as a number eight – his ball-carrying quality is another one of his strongpoints that would be particularly useful in such a role.
The 19-year-old has already proven his capabilities at senior level, but the Championship provides him with another chance to showcase his qualities to his parent club in a league with a different dynamic.
In saying this, Mount’s game should translate well to English football as it is not overly predicated on any particular style of football, nor is he reliant on a system being shaped around him. He is dynamic.
Derby should target Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, hand him the number nine shirt
Derby County are set to embark on the dawn of a new era under the management of Frank Lampard.
Sky Bet Championship outfit Derby County recently unveiled their squad numbers for the 2018/19 campaign, on their official website, and the obvious omission from the list was the void of a number nine
The Rams have signed five new players this summer and it was thought in some people’s eyes that big-money recruit Jack Marriott, who arrived from Peterborough United, might be handed the famous shirt number
Marriott has taken number 14 and it leaves those of a Derby persuasion with a a sense of suspicion that boss Frank Lampard might not be quite finished in the transfer market just yet.
Ipswich Town striker Martyn Waghorn has been heavily linked with a move to the East Midlands, but given the money that the Tractor Boys are wanting to recoup for their star attraction, the Rams might be better off looking elsewhere to bolster their attacking ranks.
Lampard has already raided his former club Chelsea this summer to sign highly-rated youngster Mason Mount and a return to Stamford Bridge to request another favour might be in the Derby boss’ best interests, when it comes to signing a new striker.
Striker Tammy Abraham is not expected to get much of a look in under new Blues’ boss Maurizio Sarri and another loan move away from London could be on the agenda for the man who spent last season on loan at Swansea City.
In netting five goals from his 31 Premier League appearances at the Liberty Stadium he hardly set the league alight, but it is the form he showed during a loan spell at Bristol City that should tempt the Derby boss into a move for the talisman.
During his season-long stint at Ashton Gate he netted 23 goals from 41 games and was named the club’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, demonstrating a devastating level of composure in front of goal at Championship level.
The Rams aren’t blessed with loads of pace when it comes to out-and-out strikers and Abraham’s youthful exuberance would make him a shrewd addition to Lampard’s new-look Rams squad, whilst a player of his ability would be more than worthy of wearing the number nine shirt.
Exclusive: George Williams on his Fulham spell, Euro 2016 and two year ambition
We caught up with the former MK Dons and Fulham prospect, now plying his trade for Forest Green.
Exclusive: Christian Doidge discusses new season, career highlights and transfer speculation
The Forest Green Rovers striker spoke to The Boot Room ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
Exclusive: Cardiff City’s Joe Bennett discusses his new contract; promotion and new signings
The full-back spoke exclusively to The Boot Room as he looks ahead to the Bluebird's top flight return.
Nottingham Forest13 hours ago
Nottingham Forest should consider loaning out Liam Bridcutt this month
Everton16 hours ago
Everton newbie Andre Gomes frustrated Barcelona fans in similar fashion to Morgan Schneiderlin
Leeds United17 hours ago
Marcelo Bielsa confirms Leeds United could make one more signing, but where?
Leeds United14 hours ago
Jamal Blackman first-team chance comes at worst possible time for Bailey Peacock-Farrell
Sunderland16 hours ago
Three perfect Premier League strikers Sunderland could get on loan
Everton7 hours ago
Everton round-up: No Jagielka appeal, new duo train and Usmanov investment
Rangers6 hours ago
Rangers fans will be pleased Dynamo Kiev deal collapsed for Borna Barisic last summer
Tottenham Hotspur7 hours ago
Tottenham Hotspur round-up: Janssen number stripped, Rose can go and Eriksen interest