Saturday, June 14, 2008

The off-season: Fulham

It's amazing what Roy Hodgson has done after the dour affair with Lawrie Sanchez. With relegation almost certain last season, the veteran manager extracted safety from the jaws of relegation. Hodgson can now look forward to rebuilding his team in his own style. He's already started by being the most active manager in the transfer market, release quite a number of players with a lot of free signings coming into Craven Cottage.

GK: Mark Schwarzer, Antti Niemi, Kasey Keller, David Stockdale

The revolution at Fulham is very obvious just by looking at the goalkeeping section. Normally a safe haven for players, not even the likes of the reliable Anti Niemi or Kasey Keller are immune from being put on the transfer list. Niemi has lost his form over the past years but still has the class to be picked up by a good team. Keller has indicated he won't get a new deal and will retire. It was a major coup to sign Schwarzer, whilst Stockdale will be used as the secondary goalkeeper.

RB: Moritz Volz, Chris Baird, Elliot Omozusi

Even with three right-backs at his disposal, Hodgson still recruited Paul Stalteri from Tottenham, saying a lot about his faith in those players. He will likely give Omozusi a chance, since he's still young, but failures like Baird will move on. I don't know about Volz - his versatility is a great asset but I think he might return to Germany to get regular playing time.

LB: Paul Konchesky

Konchesky is reliable and no-frills, able to get forward to support the attack. With Bocanegra going Fulham will require a secondary left-back

CB: Aaron Hughes, Brede Hangeland, Defan Stefanovic, Toni Kallio

I reckon Hodgson will get rid of Stefanovic & Zakuani and bring in some younger players. He has already had the established pairing of Hughes and Hangeland - all he needs is some reliable reinforcements.

WG: Seol Ki-Hyeon, Clint Dempsey, Hameur Bouazza, Simon Davies, Lee Cook, Zoltan Gera

Fulham have a bevy of wingers but will getting rid of most of them. Seol, Bouazza and Cook will be leaving. The Cottagers managed to recruit Gera from WBA but they still require one more winger.

CM: Alexei Smertin, Andranik Teymourian, Steven Davis, Danny Murphy, Jimmy Bullard, Leon Andreasen

With Teymourian coming in, the likes of Smertin and Davis are most likely to go.

FW: David Healy, Diomansy Kamara, Eddie Johnson, Collins John, Erik Nevland

It's a pity Fulham's best forward, Brian McBride, is departing and leaving behind not one forward who can score goals. It's is definite John will be leaving whilst the rest will be given one more chance but how long will Hodgson's patience last?


In: 1 x Right-back, 1 x Left-back, 1 x Centre-back, 1 x Winger
Out: Keller, Niemi, Baird, Volz, Stefanovic, Zakuani, Cook, Seol, Bouazza, Smertin, Davis, John

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