FFC stuck on start grid

Posted by Phil Mison

Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty ImagesAshkan Dejagah sums up the day for Fulham in their 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen Sunday.

Another week slips by as we edge closer to the big kick-off, and still the Fulham faithful are left craving positive news. Perhaps a blitz on the transfer market the minute Martin Jol stepped off the plane back from Central America was a fanciful notion, but Fulham certainly need to get things moving soon. A handily timed reminder of areas where Fulham are lacking came with the 1-0 friendly loss Sunday to Werder Bremen in Germany.

The same players who underperformed for so much of last season on the road turned out and remained entirely consistent in their performance. Fulham proved again there is no creativity coming from midfield, is slow to move the ball from back to front, overall had no cutting edge to frighten anyone -- be they Bremen or Burton Albion. And, I will keep saying it until proved wrong on a consistent basis -- I see no signs whatsoever to suggest Bryan Ruiz in tandem up front with Dimitar Berbatov have the weaponry to frighten Premier League opponents.

Sunderland have made nine signings to date. Fulham had three in the bag before the season ended, but since the close season began no further action of note -- despite the usual torrent of rumours and half-truths. Now we’re left to see how the cards land with what may prove to be a dodgy piece of business with an 18-year-old kid from Lens. Even if the deal is sanctioned, Ange-Freddy Plumain will only be going straight into the development squad for the season.

Jol has -- or should have -- a highly sophisticated network of scouts and talent spotters spread across all continents advising on what talent might best serve Fulham. One of the reasons for hiring the Dutchman in the first place was his supposed provenance around the top tables of European clubs. If this is revealed now to be a flawed assumption, Fulham might as well cut their losses and hire a young English manager on the rise who can perhaps ‘work a Mickey Adams’ in the short term.

Of course, I read nothing into the result in Germany, nor the games played in Costa Rica. But as we roll into August, that first-day fixture up at Sunderland Aug. 17 looms ever larger. The next serious friendly workout Aug. 6 at home against Real Betis will give up more clues. The writing is on the wall outside Craven Cottage. The current squad has more than a strong whiff of relegation about it. Two major signings must be made and money put up. A further three or four support players are required to ensure real competition for places.

New owner Shahid Khan’s honeymoon period remains for now. But unless his club purchase is to quickly sour in supporters' eyes, Fulham over the next three weeks need to show they have both the guts and acumen to cut it in the transfer market, and send a strong message to supporters the club know what they are about. Here’s hoping things can only get better.

Twitter: @fulhamphil


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