Momentum being gained at Craven Cottage
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Fulham are in a rebuilding process under Mark Hughes, who has brought in plenty of changes since Roy Hodgson’s overachieving reign.
The Cottagers had a pretty poor start to the season, with just two wins before their last match of 2010 against Stoke, and far too many draws.
Since then, things have substantially improved.
An impressive Chris Baird double secured a surprise victory at the Britannia Stadium, and a close loss to Tottenham was followed by a commanding 3-0 win over West Brom.
Fulham are slowly beginning to find their feet and adapt to Mark Hughes’ methods, but the addition of a few reinforcements this month wouldn’t go amiss.
Here are ten potential signings for Fulham in the January transfer window.
1. Shaun Wright-Phillips
It is fairly common knowledge that Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is available this month, and his former manager Mark Hughes appears to be at the front of the queue for the fleet-footed Englishman.
Wright-Phillips provides plenty of running and endeavour, a decent dribble and a surprisingly powerful shot.
If he could only cross a ball, he would be worth substantially more than the £4m quoted in the media, but he certainly has the potential to be a useful signing for Fulham.
2. Papiss Demba Cisse
Both the Daily Mail and the News Of The World have recently published articles on Fulham’s interest in Senegalese striker Cisse, and having scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for SC Freiburg this season, it is easy to see why the 25 year-old is attracting attention.
Fulham lost Bobby Zamora to a broken leg earlier in the season, and that may well be a major factor in their disappointing league position.
Diomansy Kamara, Andy Johnson and Moussa Dembele do not score as regularly as Fulham fans would hope, and a prolific goal threat would surely catapult the Cottagers up the table.
3. Lewis McGugan
The right foot of Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis McGugan is capable of unleashing a hugely powerful shot, and the 22 year-old midfielder has scored some quite remarkable goals already this season.
His ten goals from midfield – almost all of which were goal of the season contenders – would see him fast become a fans’ favourite at Craven Cottage, and the fact that McGugan continues to improve each year is another encouraging sign for a club looking to sign him.
£5m would almost certainly seal his signature.
4. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of the hottest properties in football at present, with the 17 year-old making first team football seem a breeze ever since he broke through.
Of course, he has most strongly been linked with a move to Arsenal, but Fulham are still in the chase, and their biggest selling point is that they would be able to offer him more regular football now rather than later.
Exceptionally quick and gifted at controlling the ball at such blinding pace, Oxlade-Chamberlain has chipped in with seven goals so far this season from wide on the right.
Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed may have to spend up to £10m for his signature, but given his potential resale value it may well be a worthy investment.
5. Stephen Ireland
Unsettled Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has had one particularly brilliant season, which happened to be under current Fulham boss Mark Hughes when both were at Manchester City.
He moved to Villa Park as part of the James Milner transfer in summer 2010, but has failed to impress Gerard Houllier, and is allowed to leave at substantially less than the price he was bought for.
If Hughes can get him to perform the way he did in 2008-09 when he was voted City’s player of the season, he would have a wonderful Premier League player on his hands.
As long as Stephen Ireland is mentally sound, he has the potential to dictate matches, but his troubled personality may mean there is little competition for his signature.
6. Paul Konchesky
Paul Konchesky has undoubtedly failed to impress Liverpool fans since signing at Anfield for around £4m at the end of the August 2010 transfer window.
Needless to say, the club would be positively delighted to get their money back, and are reportedly receiving plenty of enquiries for his signature.
One of those has apparently come from Fulham, where the 29 year-old left back enjoyed the most successful stint of his career.
If Mark Hughes can bring back his confidence and return him to last season’s form, it would be an excellent signing for Fulham, with Carlos Salcido failing to impress.
7. Jay Bothroyd
The first player from outside the top flight to win an England cap since David Nugent, Jay Bothroyd has earned it.
The 28 year-old striker has scored 13 goals for Cardiff City in the nPower Championship this season, and is second only to Watford’s Danny Graham.
He is one of the main reasons that Cardiff are up to third in the division, but the temptation of Premier League football may prove too difficult for Bothroyd to resist.
A decent offer from Fulham would surely turn the heads of the cash-strapped Cardiff board.
8. Lacina Traore
Lacina Traore is a striker for CFR Cluj in Romania with one rather obvious selling point: he is 6’8″ tall.
Any player that makes Brede Hangeland look like a midget is clearly going to be a huge aerial threat, but Traore offers more than that.
An average of 1 goal every three games for his club is a decent return, but he also is capable of the sublime.
In a recent match he took down a long ball with one foot, juggled it as he held off a defender to run through on goal and finally volleyed it past the keeper.
His agent has reportedly faxed his details to practically every club in Europe, so Fulham may well have substantial competition for his signature.
9. Shay Given
Mark Schwarzer ended up staying at Craven Cottage for the season despite the advances from Arsenal in the summer, but the 38 year-old cannot go on forever.
Fulham manager Mark Hughes signed Shay Given for Manchester City in 2009, but the Irish goalkeeper has since lost his place in the side to England no. 1 Joe Hart.
Now aged 34, Given could well play on at the top level for a further five years.
He would provide some decent competition to Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.
10. Peter Utaka
The younger brother of Portsmouth forward John, Peter Utaka currently plies his trade up front for Odense BK in Denmark, for whom he has scored 56 goals in 100 games.
The former strike partner of ex-Arsenal striker Eduardo at Dinamo Zagreb, Fulham will hope that Utaka has a similar eye for goal.
He boasts an international goalscoring record of 1 goal from a single appearance last year, and at 26 is still to reach his prime.
Peter Utaka could be bought for around £2.5m.
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