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The Next Step For Fulham



Mohamed Al Fayed has called an end to his 16 year reign at Fulham Football Club, during which he took Fulham from the third tier of English football to becoming a respected Premier League outfit.

Al Fayed was very popular amongst fans – over 1000 supporters have signed a petition to rename the Riverside stand after him – having completely reformed the West London club both on and off the pitch.

The man now in charge is Pakistan-born Shahid Kahn. According to Forbes magazine, Kahn is worth over $1.9 billion – which he made selling car-parts in the United States.

One position often under danger when a new owner comes in is the manager, but Kahn, also the owner of American NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars, has insisted that he has full confidence in Martin Jol and he won’t be completely reforming the club from top to bottom, “Martin has a great reputation. I look forward to meeting him and support and move him forwards… There is a plan that has been laid out and I’m here to support that plan.”

In the same interview, Kahn said that Jol and chief executive Alastair Mackintosh will make the final decisions regarding transfers, “you want to empower people and give them the resources to do their jobs and then they are accountable.”

He also stated that Fulham will not make the same mistakes as clubs in the past, such as QPR last season, where they spent huge amounts of money unwisely. So it looks unlikely that Fulham will be splashing ridiculous sums of cash this summer.

It’s unclear how much Jol will be given, as the pair are yet to discuss it, but Kahn is expected to grant the Dutchman money to spend this transfer window, he is due to fly out to Costa Rica this weekend (where the team is currently touring) to hold talks with Jol.

Fulham have a decent squad to compete with next season, and have already signed their number one target this summer in Maarten Skelenburg.

If Kahn does grant them with a bit of cash then where should they spend it and on whom should it be spent? They’re rumoured to be interested in Nancy player Yohan Mollo, the wing is an important position to strengthen because of the deterioration of Damien Duff’s pace, the injury problems Ashkan Dejagah faced last season and the general lack of players in that position.

Mollo, who was on loan to Saint Etienne last season, would be relatively cheap to buy because Nancy were relegated to Ligue 2 last season. He can play on either wing (or, to a lesser extent, as a second striker), which adds to the allure.

Another option for the wing is Stewart Downing, who hasn’t particularly enjoyed his time at Anfield and might benefit from a move to a smaller club like Fulham, and Fulham could certainly benefit from the speedy 28 year-old.

Centre midfield has been an area that the club has had problems with since Dembele, Etuhu and Murphy all left They’ll need to strengthen here and they’ll need to do it quickly because there’s a lot of midfielders of the right quality and price, such as Younes Belhanda and Victor Wanyama, who have already moved elsewhere.

There’s also been talk of Fulham lining up a move for a striker because, with Berbatov and Ruiz up top, Fulham lack pace and physicality in this position. Christian Benteke is considered by some to be a reasonable target for Fulham, and though he provides them with muscle and brute force, he’s not particularly fast and may as well stay at Aston Villa, rather than move to a similarly positioned club in terms of quality.

Darren Bent would be a more realistic signing, he wants out of Villa and would provide the pace Fulham need as well as taking some of the weight off of Berbatov’s back to score all of goals they need.

Mr. Kahn has claimed he is not going to get rid of Craven Cottage and has instead set his sights on developing the stadium as well as the playing staff, he told Talksport “if we are to build a long-term future that is sustainable, we need to invest in the facilities and the people” and called Craven Cottage a ‘shrine’ after attending a league match there in 2007.

The businessman is saying all the right things, but could he, like some American owners coming into the Premier League before him, be in it for the profit? He did buy the club at a relatively cheap price after all.

Buying Fulham gives him real estate, and if he goes back on his promise to develop Craven Cottage, one of the most sought-after residential development sites in London, he could sell it on for £180 million.

That’s a worst-case scenario and is unlikely, however he could still be in it purely for money, If he invests in players then the club will earn more television money from the Premier League.

He snapped up Fulham relatively cheaply, between £150m and £200m, and he bought Jacksonville Jaguars for a very low price and many financial experts believe the acquisition of the Jaguars is an investment.

Kahn could use Fulham to borrow money, this is what American owners in the Premier League have done before him.

Tom Hicks and George Gilett did this at Liverpool, it backfired spectacular and they ended up losing their sporting empire. The Glazers, who still own Manchester United, have done this and have gained a lot of success from it, but it hasn’t proved popular with the fans. If this is what Shahid Kahn does then it won’t go down well with Fulham fans, only time will tell whether this is the case.


Ryan Sessegnon should resist Tottenham interest and remain at boyhood club Fulham

The 19-year-old has been linked with Spurs for some time.



Photo: Getty Images

The more Ryan Sessegnon excels, the more the tabloids run wild.

It seems that every coming week brings a new, outlandish rumour for the 17-year-old’s future destination. The most consistent linked with Sessegnon has been Tottenham Hotspur, but the Fulham youngster has also attracted attention from the likes of Liverpool, both Manchester clubs, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich.

Yet, despite all of the interest from mega-clubs, Ryan Sessegnon should remain at Fulham.

The precocious talent has taken the Championship by storm ever since he made his debut as a 16-year-old in August 2016.

Sessegnon began his career as a left-back but was used to great effect in a more advanced position during the end of the 2016/17 season. Midway through this campaign, he has established himself as a left-winger in Slavisa Jokanovic’s 4-3-3 system.

The teenager has blossomed at Craven Cottage, leading Fulham in scoring with a remarkable 14 goals to date. Even more impressive, he has risen to the occasion in the high-profile matches, notching goals against Wolves, Aston Villa, Derby, and his first professional hat-trick against Sheffield United.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The reason Sessegnon has excelled at Fulham? The immense faith and trust the coaching staff have placed in his abilities. A stunning statistic is that at just 17 years of age, Ryan Sessegnon is the only player in the Fulham squad to start every single match this season.

If he were to leave Fulham, he would lose the crucial aspect that has let him flourish: constant game time. At his age, the most valuable thing a player can have is regular first-team experience.

A move to a so-called bigger club would undoubtedly result in reduced first-team appearances for Sessegnon, which would hamper his progression at a crucial moment in the Englishman’s development.

If Fulham can achieve promotion to the Premier League this season, an event that is looking increasingly likely due to a 15-match unbeaten run, then there is no doubt Sessegnon should remain in SW6.

A guaranteed starting role in the world’s top league will provide the youngster with the perfect chance to fulfill his sky-high potential, an opportunity he would be remiss to pass up.

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Since Aleksandar Mitrovic left, he and Newcastle United have scored the same amount of goals

The Serbian striker is leading Fulham to potential promotion.



Fulham continued their march in the Championship this week with an impressive 3-0 win against Sheffield United at Craven Cottage. The result moves the Cottagers up to fourth in the Championship and into serious contention for promotion to the Premier League. If they do make it back to the top-flight then the signing of Aleksandar Mitrovic will prove to have been crucial.

The Serbian striker scored twice for Fulham against the Blades, continuing his excellent form. Since joining Fulham at the end of January Mitrovic has managed to score an impressive five goals in seven games.

during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It is run of form which will be hard to take for Newcastle United fans. Mitrovic is of course on loan at Fulham from the struggling Premier League side.

Newcastle are currently just two points off the relegation zone in the Premier League. Despite their struggles this season, Rafa Benitez continued to ignore Mitrovic’s claims for a first-team position.

Now that is looking like a poor decision from the Newcastle manager.

Mitrovic’s tally of five goals since he joined Fulham is impressive in itself. Newcastle fans will not like to hear the following statistic though. The Magpies have only managed to score five goals as a team since Mitrovic was allowed to join Fulham in January.

It is hard to see how the Fulham loanee would not have been a helpful member of the Newcastle team if he was given a chance by Benitez before the end of the season.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 09: Aleksandar Mitrovic of Newcastle United arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on December 9, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Mitrovic’s form at Fulham is even more depressing when considering who Newcastle brought in to replace him. Algerian striker Islam Slimani arrived on loan from Leicester City to take his place. However, injury means Newcastle fans are yet to see him play for the club over a month later.

Mitrovic can be a controversial and often inconsistent operator up front. But he is proving what he can do at Craven Cottage and leaving Newcastle slightly red in the face.

There is a chance Newcastle could go down and Fulham win promotion on the back of Mitrovic’s goals. If that proves the case, Mitrovic’s exit will go down as one of the worst transfer decisions in Newcastle’s recent history.

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Has Slaviša Jokanovic assembled the Fulham team of the century at just the right moment?

The Serbian’s side are flying in the Championship and look on course for promotion.



Photo: Getty Images

Times like this rarely come around for clubs like Fulham. Not since 2010’s spellbinding Europa League final run have the Whites conjured up such optimism, goodwill, and footballing joy.

The current 13-match (and counting) unbeaten run is truly historic and has provided the long-suffering Fulham faithful with moments to savor for years to come. And there is a feeling around the club of unfinished business- that this year the team Slaviša Jokanovic has assembled can go one step further than last year and achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Fulham’s weekend win over Derby County marked their tenth win in their last 13 games. 33 points from a possible 39. 32 goals scored and just ten conceded. Five clean sheets in the process. It is no understatement to say that this is the best form Fulham have seen in decades; not since the jubilant campaign of 2000/01 have the Cottagers hit such heights.

The last four matches have been ever the more impressive considering the high-quality opposition Fulham have faced. Following a draw with Bolton in mid-February, the Whites embarked on a run of fixtures against six out of top nine, including all other teams in the top six.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

On paper, it appeared a brutal stretch that would test the club to their limits. Common knowledge was that the Whites would be clinging on to their spot in the play-offs by March.

Yet this Fulham side pays little attention to common knowledge. The supposed heavyweight clubs in the Championship, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both left Craven Cottage empty-handed after being swatted away and held goalless.

Fulham beat  Derby County away for the first time in 16 years, while they held Bristol City to an entertaining 1-1 draw. Four matches against four of the best in the division have resulted in three wins and a draw.

What’s perhaps most remarkable about the magnificent run is that it has not been propelled by a single standout player, but rather by the entire squad.

The return of Marcus Bettinelli has been a revelation, and just like last season, he has brought newfound form to side. Tomas Kalas, and Tim Ream in particular, have been stalwarts at the back. Ryan Fredericks, who recently marked a century of appearances for Fulham, has terrorised opposition defenses all season with his searing pace. Matt Targett has added class and composure, despite his tender age, proving to be an astute loan signing.

And that’s just the back five. The midfield three has truly reestablished itself after early season struggles. Tom Cairney is back to his rampaging best after an injury-hit first half of the year, Stefan Johansen has recaptured his 2016/17 form, and Kevin McDonald is imperious as always in the centre of the park.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Aleksandr Mitrovic truly seems to be the final piece in Slavisa Jokanovic’s jigsaw. The Serbian striker has fired home three goals in his last three matches, providing strong hold-up play, powerful driving runs, and lethal finishing. Finally Fulham have the striker they deserve.

Then there is Ryan Sessegnon. At this point, superlatives can no longer do him justice. There are simply no words for the season he is having. At the age of 17, having played the majority of his matches as a full-back, the Englishman has bagged an outstanding 14 goals.

Sessegnon’s passion and love for the club makes each goal ever the more enjoyable; he is a dream come true for Fulham fans. Suddenly, talk of a spot on the plane to Russia no longer seems so outlandish.

After the next two matches against Sheffield United and Preston, 8th and 9th in the table respectively, the Whites have a run-in of dreams. In their remaining nine fixtures, they play just one team in the top ten. It is not totally radical to dream of an unbeaten finish to the campaign.

But times weren’t always this good on the bank of the Thames. Remarkably, some supporters were calling for Slavisa’s sacking after a rough October that left the Whites languishing in 17th.

Such rash judgements seem foolish now, and credit is due for the level-headed management that trusted in the Serb’s judgement. Come May, that patience could very well be richly rewarded.

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