Scott Parker’s new-look team have lost just four league games since late November and have conceded just 13 goals in the last 14 games
The champagne on Wembley pitch was yet to fall flat when Fulham’s scouting squad kicked in this summer as players and coaching staff still celebrated their play-off victory over Brentford and their immediate return to the elite, the club leaders were already preparing a way to keep them there
It was a joyous moment for the club, but it was also a delicate moment for its managers Fulham had less than six weeks to prepare for the Premier League season, finances were tight and the transfer market affected The coronavirus was slowly evolving They were also keenly aware, from the top of the club down to the players, that they couldn’t oversee a grueling 2018/19 season repeat, when they invested heavily but finished 19th
At his post-game press conference that night, head coach Scott Parker spoke of avoiding the mistakes of his previous season in the top-flight ‘We have to learn from this’, he said This didn’t mean Fulham had no intention of spending, although They had to strengthen the side, especially the defense, and they had to do it more skillfully than before
Six months later, Fulham again looks like a completely different squad than the one that got the promotion This time around, however, they’re unquestionably a better side for it if their recruiting process has been blamed for relegation from 2019 , sometimes unfairly, so it’s only fair that he now gets credit for the obvious improvements Fulham has made this season
Over the past three months, Fulham have been a much stronger team than the league table suggests.Since late November they have lost just four league games, all to the current top four And in the last 14 games they’ve conceded just 13 goals, a defensive record improved by only Burnley and Manchester City
Their problem has been scoring goals, but the signs are also encouraging on that front.In his full debut last weekend, forward Josh Maja struck twice in a well-deserved win at Everton
If Parker’s side win at Burnley on Wednesday they will move within four points of safety Survival is now a real possibility, which in itself is quite an achievement given their early campaign, when they scored 10 goals in the first three games
The scale of the transformation can be seen in the fact that just one player who started the season opener against Arsenal also started at Everton It was Harrison Reed, who signed on permanently this summer
In the rest of the squad there are new faces, from Maja in attack to superb Joachim Andersen at the back.The crucial difference is that, unlike two seasons ago, almost all summer arrivals have had a significant impact on the side, making Fulham a better and more competitive outfit once they settled down
The recruiting process itself has not changed since Fulham’s previous Premier League adventure It is still led by Vice President Tony Khan, who has the final say on entries and exits, and is always based on a “two boxes checked” policy, where one box refers to traditional scouting and the other to data analysis
This season, however, there is a hunger among new hires that wasn’t always present before Andersen, Tosin Adarabioyo, Ademola Lookman, Antonee Robinson, Ola Aina, Kenny Tete and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all have under 25, and they all move the team forward
Parker worked closely with Khan and general manager Alistair Mackintosh on recruiting the club this summer, and he has insisted throughout that they need players with a genuine desire to improve. Khan, meanwhile, pushed until the final moments of the deadline to find the best value in a financial climate where every penny counts.
The signings of Andersen, on loan from Lyon, and Adarabioyo, snatched from Manchester City for just £ 2million, are perhaps two of the division’s most impressive deals Andersen was named substitute captain after just four games, with Parker describing his impact as ‘incredible’ Adarabioyo, meanwhile, must already be worth at least five times what Fulham paid for him
The only complaint from Fulham supporters was that the two center-backs had not been signed earlier They both reached the October deadline, after Fulham lost their first four matches But the Andersen deal just wasn’t possible earlier in the window – it’s understood that, up to 36 hours after the deadline, the only way Fulham could sign it was to pay € 30million They ended up loaning him out for just $ 1million, with another $ 1million owed if they stay standing Sometimes it can pay off to be patient
Adarabioyo was more of a data-driven signing, while Robinson (who cost Wigan £ 2million) was said to have been wowed by the prospect of working with Parker Mario Lemina has come on a forfeit with Reed from Southampton, while goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has been reliable since arriving on loan from Paris Saint-Germain
The resurgence of André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, a £ 25m arrival in 2018, has been particularly satisfying Anguissa has hardly been used in his first England campaign, when he has not felt the love which he might have expected, and was loaned to Villarreal last season
Anguissa’s success in La Liga has been such that the Spanish side have made a huge offer this summer, estimated at nearly £ 25million The approach was rejected as Fulham still believed he would eventually succeed. Since then he has started all but four of the league games, becoming one of Parker’s most dynamic players.
Naturally none of these signings will be considered a true achievement if Fulham doesn’t survive But the fact remains that Parker’s side is on an unmistakable upward trajectory They improve and they fight, and these new faces have played a huge role in their development as a team Rather than being undermined by their recruitment, they are now fueled by it
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Ebene News – UA – How the wise recruitment of Fulham boosts Premier League chances of survival