Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri wants to swap his captain Tom Cairney for Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey during the January transfer window, according to the Sun.
The Italian has moved away from the passing style that suited Cairney so much and reportedly wants a new midfield dictator next month.
Ranieri wants Shelvey to be that man and apparently hopes a deal can be done with Rafa Benitez, who has made bids for Cairney in the past.
Shelvey has always seemed at odds with Benitez’s disciplined approach, although it is hard to see how he would fare much better because Ranieri’s style is similarly reactive and strict.
But Fulham have ripped apart the identity that got them into the Premier League – their intricate gameplan has been replaced by a counter attacking style – and selling their promotion-winning captain would be another huge step in that direction.
Obviously short-term change was needed to stop the flow of goals but Fulham are in danger of tearing apart the years of good work that got them back into the top flight.
Cairney is a popular figure in the dressing room, not to mention a classy operator on the pitch, who clearly absolutely loves the club.
Fulham would be getting the raw end of the deal if this swap goes ahead and it would only serve to push them even closer to the drop.