Note: This is the first in the series covering the transfer activity of English Premier League clubs in advance of the 2018-19 season. These posts will be updated regularly as the transfer window progresses throughout the season.
Fulham should be able to avoid relegation this year, they finished with tied with newly-promoted wolves, each with 3 players in the Championship First XI (one of which has since left the team). Overall, they finished 3rd in the Championship and advanced by way of the promotion playoff. In the championship they averaged 1.7 goals for and 1 goal against per game. Fulham lost only 8 games in the championship (1 more than 1st place team, Wolves, who conceded 7), though they drew 4 more times than wolves. They split games with both of the other promotion teams, 1st place Wolves (each team winning the home leg) and 2nd place Cardiff. Fulham lost roughly the same number of games the bottom four teams from the Premier League won, although the Championship does play more games than the Premier League (by 8). Fulham was shut out only 5 times out of 46 matches.
My biggest concern for this Fulham team is the loss of Ryan Fredericks at Right Back, as the team has only Cyrus Christie (25) and Denis Odoi (30) as replacements. Christie was brought in during the 2017 winter transfer window and despite playing almost every minute for Middlesbrough in the championship, he played only 135’ minutes in 5 appearances for Fulham, failing to come off the bench for another 12 games. Odoi on the other hand made 38 appearances for Fulham, although only 3 appearances at his favored right back position, the other appearances coming from 26 as centerback and 13 more as left back. Marchand’s favored position is a center back which should allow Odoi to feature more regularly as starting right back, however, the gap in quality between Odoi and Fredericks remains to be seen.
- Jean Michael Seri ($30M from OGC Nice) signed on a 4 year contract (with a club option for an additional year) – He was a mainstay for Nice last year, making 31 appearances (2622’, ~85m) with 2 goals, 7 assists, and 5 yellow cards. In addition, he started in 5 of the 8 Europa League games assisting on one goal. He also took part in all 4 UEFA Champions League Qualification matches going the full 90 each time and contributing 2 assists. He is a current International for Ivory Coast with 18 appearances, a goal, and 3 assists.
- Maxime Le Marchand ($4.5M from OGC Nice) – Marchand split time between LB and CB for Nice as part of their 8th place finish. He played almost every available minute with the exception of a span from December 7th through March 2nd that looks like it may have been injury related as he missed the final group game and both games against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League. Looks to be a great fit to fill their center back hole that has had Odoi playing somewhat out of position (while simultaneously freeing him up to play his preferred right-back.
- Fabri (~$7.5m from Besiktas) – He spent 2 years with Besiktas making 87 appearances, with 27 clean sheets and only 94 goals allowed. He’s allowing only 0.86 goals/game in the league. I think Fabri is coming in to start, Bettinelli has no appearances for the team at a level higher than Championship level competition where Fabri has a ton of experience. Although the Premier League is a step up in competition, I think Fabri will be able to meet the task after a fair amount of experience in the Champions League, even though his concessions go up, he averages allows almost 2 goals/game. Bettinelli will probably get a good look in preseaon training — but I think that ultimately Fabri will beat him out for first team keeper.
André Schürrle ($450k loan from Borussia Dortmund)
Schürrle hasn’t played as much as he’s wanted for Dortmund so there’s not really any downside to him going out on loan to the Premier League. His recent statistics are less than ideal, but the last time he played in a majority of games for Dortmund (2015-2016) in total, he appeared in 41 times for Dortmund (29 League, 10 Champions League and twice in German cups). Across that playing time he managed 12 goals and 7 assists, but even then he was only averaging just a hair over 63′. In the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 season, he averaged about a goal every 250′, though the reduction in playing time last season wreaked havoc on those numbers. If he’s able to generate production anywhere near this, he should be a steal for Fulham (especially for free), and I think that with the other addtions, he’ll be able to get/give some exceptional service. I’m looking forward to watching Schürrle in the Premier League.
- Aleksandar Mitrovic (“Undisclosed” from Newcastle) – Mitrovic played only a limited amount of time for Newcastle (first half of the season) due to injury and suspension. He spent the latter half of the 2017-2018 season with Fulham where he scored 12 goals and an assist, in 17 games. If the statistics alone don’t speak well him the management obviously thought his work ethic and ability were valued added for this campaign. This move will help free up some transfer funds for Newcastle (and likely wage budget) who are experiencing significnat financial concerns, and gives Fulham a good, young striker. I think this will be a great pickup likely to be in the $21.5M range because of the existing release clause. (Update: It was just reported that this is likely a $28M initial fee, with a possible $7M of additional incentives.)
- Alfie Mawson ($18.5M estimated fee from Swansea City) – Alfie Mawson is a solid defender that can provide some assistance in the attack. Over the last season, he’s averaged more than 3 aerial duels won per game. He also provides some threat going forward with some nice long balls played out and the potential for dribbling downfield. Averages about 45 passes per game with an 81% completion rate. He also averages just under 6 clearences per game. I think this is a good pick up for the Wanderers, and I think the transfer fee will allow Swansea City to strengthen the squad as well.
- Tim Fosu-Mensah (loan from Man Utd) – I think Fosu-Mensah will go a long ways to helping provide a rotation option in Fredericks’ absence. He was on loan with this side last year, so he should already be familiar with the team and made 17 starts and 21 total appearances in the Premier League for them. I imagine he will slide right in and become a workhourse in the team, likely exceeding the 21 appearances for them this season. He’s shown that he has the potentially to regularly compete at this level and I think if Manchester Unite didn’t have Antonio Valencia, he might even have stayed with the side to compete for a place in the first team there.
- Ryan Fredericks (Free Transfer) – Fredericks made 44 appearances for Fulham in the Championship for 3,919’ (~89m/appearance). Also featured 3 times for 263’ in the Championship Playoffs for promotion. He provided 9 assists along with 10 yellow cards. He was also named to the Championship team of the year starting XI. He transferred to fellow Premier League Side at the expiration of his 3 year deal with Fulham. Not only did Fulham lose a star performer, but by failing to keep him under contract, they lose him for free (rough valuation of about $4.6M per TransferMarkt — though after the season he had, I anticipate that figure is a little low).
- George Williams (Free Transfer) – Williams didn’t feature for the first team at all last season. He made 11 appearances during the season while on loan at St. Johnstone FC for a total of 784’ (~71m/appearance), with 1 goal and a yellow card. He also featured a few for the Fulham U21s.
- David Button ($5M to Brighton & Hove Albion) – Last season, David Button lost out to now-starting keeper Marcus Bettinelli with a series of poor performances. Button made 20 appearances, with 27 goals conceded, and merely 3 clean sheets while Marcus Bettinelli on the other hand, made 26 appearances, allowing only 19 goals, and keeping 12 clean sheets. I think Fulham did well to offload Button for this kind of money, my only concern for Fulham is that Bettinelli now has only one keeper in the first team. However, they do have a keeper registered for the Fulham U23s that could likely make the leap to the first team, especially in a reserves role, in Marek Rodák. Rodák made 35 starts (on loan) for Rotherham Utd. in league one, where he conceded 39 goals with 11 clean sheets.
Last updated: August 15, 2018