With recent reports suggesting that Scott Parker’s time as Fulham manager could be coming to an end in the next few days, there is one potential replacement for the 40-year-old who could carry on the former England international’s work at Craven Cottage.
According to a report by The Telegraph, the relationship between Parker and both Shahid and Tony Khan has rather considerably broken down following Fulham’s relegation to the Championship last season, with the club’s hierarchy having been in talks with the young manager regarding his position at the club this week.
As a result of these talks, it is expected that Parker will leave the club in the coming days, possibly by mutual consent, with the 40-year-old thought to be in the running to take over from Jonathan Woodgate at Fulham’s promotion rivals Bournemouth.
And, with the Cottagers looking increasingly likely to be on a hunt for a new manager of their own in the not so distant future, there is one standout candidate who could well be Parker’s perfect successor at Craven Cottage – Steve Cooper.
Following a season in which Graham Potter had led his Swansea City side to a 10th place finish in the 2018/19 Championship campaign, the appointment of a coach whose only previous experience in management had been with the Liverpool and England youth sides may not filled many of the Swansea fans with confidence.
However, the 41-year-old quickly put any doubt about his managerial capabilities to bed, with the Welsh side going on to enjoy a remarkable, and rather unexpected, season under the previously unknown coach – winning 18, drawing 16 and losing 12 of their 46 Championship fixtures in Cooper’s debut season, subsequently securing a sixth-place finish.
And, although the Swans would eventually lose 3-2 on aggregate to a much-fancied Brentford side in the play-off semi-finals, there were clear signs of improvement made by the club under their new manager – not only in league position but also tactically, with Swansea conceding just eight goals from set-pieces, down from 24 under Potter in the year prior.
The following season, Cooper defied expectations once again, with Swansea winning 23, drawing 11 and losing 12 of their 46 Championship fixtures, this time finishing the season in fourth place with 80 points – 10 more than the previous year.
Their performances in the play-offs also improved, defeating Barnsley 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-final, before – extremely unfortunately – meeting Thomas Frank’s Brentford once more in the final – a game that Swansea would ultimately lose 2-1.
Away from the pitch, Cooper has also gained a reputation for being extremely adept in developing young players – something no doubt helped by the fact the 41-year-old won the U17 World Cup with England – so much so that Premier League sides now offer Swansea the opportunity to loan their youth prospects before making them available to the wider market.
As such, it would very much appear as if the appointment of the man whom Andre Ayew dubbed a “quality” manager at Fulham would not only bring the very real chance of securing an immediate return to the Premier League, but also the potential of developing a young, exciting and attacking side that could well stay in the top flight for longer than Parker managed – leading us to believe that Cooper should very much be top of Khan’s shortlist this summer.