Summer Transfer Window 2015

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by ChicagoCottager, May 12, 2015.

  1. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    With the season wrapped up and the summer window opening in a few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to create this thread. It looks to be a busy window for us, with many players supposedly already told they won't be back. This window is also a chance for Khan to show his ambition for the club, and for Mike Rigg to reveal his strategy going forward. Will we build through our young players? Spend big on a few names? Go after experienced championship players? Maybe up and coming players from the Championship or the lower league? It's going to be interesting to see what our strategy will be.

    I think the club is doing the right thing by letting a large portion of the squad go over the summer. Obviously the failed Magath signings need to leave, but I also think the likes of Ruiz and Rodallega need to move on. If I was in charge, I would try to build around the young players we have in the squad. I think Betts, Hyndman, LVC, and Roberts especially are talented enough to lead us to promotion in the next few years if we can surround them with the right talent and experience. With that said, here's my wishlist for the summer:

    Goalkeeper: If we can keep Betts, and I think we can, then we really need a capable backup with experience. Maybe Boaz Myhill, whose contract is expiring at WBA and would know Simons from Wales?

    Defense: This is the area where we need to strengthen the most. We gave up the second most goals (1.8 per game) in the league last season. We aren't going to get anywhere near the playoffs with a record like that. As I see it, every position in the back line is up for grabs. However, I have the most confidence in Hutch and Kavanagh finding places next season (Burn and Bodurov were somewhat disappointing but may have a shot). I think we need a couple experienced CBs and a RB for sure, but I wouldn't be opposed to bringing in 4 or 5 defenders with a mix of experienced and promising players.

    Midfield: Wingers, wingers, wingers! We need 'em, and we need 'em now. We need to play with width next season (4-4-2 please) and we need wingers to do it. I think the spine of our midfield is solid with LVC as a more attacking option and Parker and Hyndman in the holding role (Tunnicliffe I'm not as high on). I'm less concerned with experience on the wing and would like to see us go after some young, pacey players that can run up and down the wings and provide service.

    Forwards: I want to play with two strikers, and I want to give McCormack and Smith a chance to build on the partnership they showed at the end of the season. That being said, it seems clear that Smith isn't a 90 min player, so I would like to see us bring in a quality goal poacher type. McCormack has the ability to play further from goal and set up teammates, so someone with pace that can run off him would be a dynamic option. I'd love to see a situation where we start McCormack next to a speedy no. 9 for 60 mins, then bringing on Smith for the final 30 mins to give the opposing defense a totally different look.

    Sorry for the long post, but please share your hopes for the window, and any rumors and signings as they come out.
     
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  2. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff CC! this is obviously a critical window. First and foremost is Kit going to be the manager? Is the club waiting until the end of the Prem season to see who has been sacked (Fat Sam)? The club needs to be decisive going forward. If Kit is the man, then get behind him fully and give him the resources to be successful. If they are of the mindset of giving him until the January to see how next season starts we are in for another bumpy ride.

    Defense; The Thames Barrier was so great because Brede and Aaron complimented each other perfectly. I think Burn is the answer as long as the player he partners with fills that Hughes role.

    Forwards; I think in Ross, Smith, Cauley, and Dembele there isn't a need to splash huge $$ at this spot.

    GKs; I know money talks, but I hope Betts is of the mindset and tells his agent that backing up at a bigger club aint going to help him.
     
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  3. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much of the above, especially the great start off by Chi-man.
    My two cents worth:
    I agree we need to give the Smith-McCormack partnership a shot from the beginning next season. It got stalled after we picked Smith up late, then he was loaned after getting that unfortunate, but merited, red card in his first outing for us. Pretty sure Ruiz has had one foot out the door for some time now, and we can't afford Hugo anymore for what he gives us. Hope we can get Dembele, Woodrow and Roberts into the rotation on a regular basis, but Ross needs to be out there 90 plus every time.
    I think Betts will be around for at least one more season. I'm wagering he won't leave for greener pastures without the assurance of first team football. As for a backup, I haven't the first clue. Bring in an elder statesman to groom him for the Prem, or just a warm body that's serviceable for a game or two if Marcus gets nicked up or (heaven forbid) another red? Brad Friedel, anyone?
    I'm torn about defenders. We really need better, and I'm not sure anybody currently on contract is up to the task. I soured a bit on Big Dan at the end because, despite of his instincts and positioning, he's just too darn slow. Kavanagh and Hutch have their moments, but in the end, we need a major overhaul. Bodurov, Stafylidis, Richards, Turner, Casasola, Grimmer and Voser all need to go. Who we get to replace them will determine how quickly we compete for a top ten (or better) finish in the Championship next season.
    Midfield is trickier. Assume we keep Parker and LVC. Everyone seems to agree we need wingers. What then, to do with Kacanicklic and Tunnicliffe? They're young, but do they possess the skill set at the level we need? After two seasons of watching them, I kind of doubt it. And do we try to make a play for Fofana, and get the loan deal mad permanent? Not me...I just didn't see enough positive stuff to warrant it. You can see potential there, it's a question of realizing it. We can't afford to wait on his to blossom.
    Even though we tailed off considerably after he was named permanently, I still feel Kit warrants a chance to pick his own side and start the next season on the touchline. Bottom line: he did his job, i.e., kept us up after taking over with one point out of the first eight. It was ugly at times, but he pulled it off. He's a Fulham man, and although just caring a lot about the club isn't enough to ensure success, he's earned the right to start off a season with a clean sheet of paper. We have to trust that those who know more than we believe he's the man for the job, regardless of who's left standing and who isn't after the Premier League season ends.
    But the focus should definitely be on defending. I think on that much, we can all agree.
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Supposedly, Kit is meeting with Khan today or tomorrow. Perhaps the wheels will start rolling then. I personally think Kit will stay with the club, but be augmented by someone more experienced. I could live with Big Sam. Expect some spending and some saying goodbye.

    I hope we hang on to our best kids and sign us a couple of good, veteran players who had solidify and reinforce their talent. I agree that we've seen the last of Ruiz and Rodallega. I'm looking forward to this summer and the upcoming season. I think we'll see the beginnings of the next 5 years of Fulham.

    And CC, thanks for your great analysis and effort in getting this all set up.
     
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  5. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    Some stories starting to trickle out that we will be keeping Kit (http://www.football365.com/fulham/9848623/-?). I'm fine with this as long as Kit is willing to change our formation for next season. Hopefully bringing in some new players will make that possible.
     
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  6. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    I think that our problems on defense go beyond the back four and can also be traced back to our midfield play. I don't have any numbers on this, but we've gotten burned on a number of set plays - corners, throw-ins, and free kicks where lots of people were back yet goals were still scored. Lots more than the back four share in those failures. Then there were the times where sloppy play in the midfield let a team catch us on the back foot and create a quick attack.

    I look back at our golden era of the 2014-15 season. The 18 games between Kit took over at Blackburn on September 20 and the match against Bournemouth the day after Christmas. During that span we were a playoff caliber team. We still lost to Watford, Bournemouth, and Middlesbrough, so I won't say the team that played those 18 games would have gotten promoted, but we were at our best. We had 9 wins, 6 losses, and 3 draws with an average of 1.89 goals for and 1.61 goals against. That includes two matches where Kiraly gave up 5 goals each. Take those two outliers out and we were giving up 1.19 goals a match.

    Our back line in that period generally included names that were familiar during both good and bad times: Hoogland, Bodurov, Stafylidis (sometimes playing left-mid), and Burn, so they can't be all bad. For me the difference in both offense and defense in that time period was the presence of Ruiz and Christensen. That pair appeared together in almost all 18 of those matches. After that they only started together in two more games.

    In addition to getting a better back line, we need a mid-field that can control the game and help prevent putting our defense into difficult positions. We know Ruiz is going. Will Christensen recover and if so who can help support him in the midfield?
     
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  7. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    Christensen played the first half of a U-21 match at White Hart Lane on Friday. Don't know how he did, but, as I posted on a different thread, the fact that he's even back on the pitch at this point is encouraging. Of course, the problem is, if he's proven fit over the summer, the sharks will be circling he and Betts and Roberts like a fresh chum cloud.
     
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  8. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    I agree with you Micah that our defenders can't take all the blame for our terrible defensive record. I think under Kit we've played far too open. Don't get me wrong, I love an end to end game, but we let in way too many goals doing it. The Boro game a couple weeks ago is a perfect example. Even with a lead and a man up we allowed ourselves to play far too open and give up chances. I really think part of that is the Diamond, which really isn't set up to play side-to-side (it's up and down the field). I also think it's a lack of experience in some key positions, especially if Parker wasn't in the team. I think Ross and Turner tried to provide that leadership, but one was a forward (hard to lead a defense) and the other was on loan for a short time. Ideally we would have a spine of experienced leaders surrounded by young talent.
     
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  9. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    We need a midfield destroyer to protect the back four. We haven't had one for several seasons now, and our defense has deteriorated constantly since we decided such a player was not appropriate for Martin Jol Sexy Football.
     
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  10. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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  11. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    I'm assuming the hope is that by extending Ruiz's contract we can get a fee for him when he leaves this summer. That being said I wouldn't mind if he stayed.
     
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  12. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    I think you're right, sir. We coughed up £11 (supposedly) to get him. I'm sure it's strictly a business decision. I'd be shocked to see him return in black and white to Stevenage Rd. next season after all that's transpired during his tenure there.
     
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  13. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    Mike Rigg talks player recruitment in an interview on the official site:

    "We’ve been looking at the squad we have and the players we need for months; my background is talent identification and a lot of work goes into that area. Some of that approach is scientific, and is backed up with some fantastic analytics that play a very important part in the identification process in terms of a player’s performance history. But we also need to ensure we have the right players for the Championship, for the type of football we play, and for the dressing room environment; a player that will settle easily and whose personality is going to be a good fit for the rest of the squad and, ultimately, one that’s affordable, and will hold his value. All of those facets need to combine to get the right players, so it’s a very detailed process. It can be described as quantitative analysis and qualitative information. The key is to get that balance right."

    http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2015/may/15/mike-rigg-fultime?

    From Rigg's comments I don't expect us to make any more Mitroglu-esque flashy signings. I expect us to try to pick up quality players from other Championship sides and players from the Prem that aren't getting playing time (i.e. Jazz Richards types).
     
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  14. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    I think the question will be whom Rigg and Kit agree on. Managers tend to want guys they're familiar with, and rightly so. And I'll gladly take more McCormack-esque flashy signings if they produce like he did this season. Part of our problem has been signing guys like Mitroglou and Ruiz, neither of whom we've gotten our money's worth from. Some would argue that Bryan was an effective player for us this season. The results bear that out. But over the long run of his tenure here, we declined. And certain phrases and terms are among the most highly subjective in athletics. What is "the type of football we play?" The "right players for the Championship.?' A " 'quality' Championship player?" A "good fit?" "Affordable?" All these mean different things to different people. Unless Mr. Rigg and Mr. Symons agree on what the majority of these words mean, we could well spend another season in the second tier. But I'm optimistic that since they've been working together since December, they do agree on player qualities and will get who they want. It's going to be interesting, that much is certain.
     
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  15. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    Jump, I think by flashy signings I meant players like Ruiz and Mitroglu. Players from other leagues that have big reputations. I know we spent a lot on McCormack, but he was in the same league and not a huge name.

    You bring up managers wanting players they're familiar with, and it's a great point. I think every manager we've appointed in the last decade has brought in players they've previously worked with. Off the top of my head I can think of Lawrie Sanchez and his Northern Irish contingent, Roy brought in some Scandinavian guys from his time there (including a good one in Hangeland). Jol brought in Ruiz, Magath brought in crap players from Germany that he knew like Kiraly and Chihi. Even Meulensteen brought in Cole and Tunnicliffe from the ManU youth teams.

    I think often this bias toward players the manager knows isn't a good thing. It can lead to signing more familiar players when better players might be available. I'm afraid that may have been the case with Jazz Richards this season. The positive aspect of this for us is that Kit may be biased toward players he knows from the youth team, which can help us in the long run. My hope is that Kit can continue to bring along our younger guys and Rigg can use advanced scouting/analytics to find some up and coming Championship players.
     
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  16. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

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    Blackpool released 17 players, I'm sure there is a player or two in that group that would fit the bill for what Riggs is looking for.
     
    #16
  17. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

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    I know 17 footballers who are dancing naked on a pub bartop swilling everything in stock somewhere on the north coast right about now, then.
     
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  18. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    Not quite sure what Jump is getting at there, but I suspect he's not interested in Blackpool players. Have to feel sorry for Blackpool supporters, that club is heading for non-league football.

    I see we're being linked with Jed Wallace from Portsmouth. Don't know anything about him, but he appears to be an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal (top scorer for Pompey). Seems like a signing that would jive with Rigg's philosophy.

    http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2015/05/19/fulham-winning-the-race-for-wallace/?
     
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  19. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

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    Stafylidis appears to be heading back to his home club:
    http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/spor...s/fulham-defender-welcomed-back-bayer-9288515

    Although he had some head-shaking performances, most notably at Leeds, I really liked the guy. Despite having made mistakes, there were a number of times he saved balls that had gotten past Bettinelli. I haven't been able to remember where my favorite came from, but Stafylidis was outside the six yard box when he saw something that caused him to run to the net while all of the other defenders stood around like planters. Sure enough a shot got past Bettinelli but Stafylidis had arrived just in time to head it away. Hope he finds success at Bayer.
     
    #19
  20. ChicagoCottager

    ChicagoCottager Active Member

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    Stafylidis may well turn out to be a good player, unfortunately once we started to slide down the table, we couldn't afford to wait around and hope he developed. I think he has all the natural ability, it's more of a mental issue with him. Knowing when to take risks getting forward, defensive positioning, etc. I think Kit tried him in midfield because he wanted him on the field but couldn't risk him at the back. Personally, I would've loved to see him play on the left wing, but since we didn't play with wingers, that obviously didn't happen.

    All that being said, I would've been fine with making the deal permanent for the right price.
     
    #20
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