Having only made the move to Fulham at the beginning of the month, new manager Marco Silva is already facing a battle to plug a significant and newly-emerged gap at Craven Cottage after the club lost the services of a key member of their first team recruitment setup.
James Ellis had been a senior scout at Fulham since his arrival at the club back in 2015, helping the Cottagers to recruit players both domestically and from the continent, often to great effect.
However, as an unfortunate result of this aforementioned success, the club will now no longer be able to rely on the eagle eyes of Ellis. The Leicester-based talent spotter has just secured a move to Premier League side Arsenal, where he will be responsible for the assessment and recommendation of UK-based players.
While Silva may not have directly benefited from the work Ellis put into Fulham during his six years at the club, the exit of the scout feels like a significant blow to the Cottagers’ recruitment team, with his departure potentially leaving the newly-installed manager gutted to have lost a reliable backroom presence so early in his tenure.
Indeed, Ellis had played a key role in a number of Fulham’s most impressive signings of the past few years, with players such as Tom Cairney, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alphonse Areola, Tosin Adarabioyo and Antonee Robinson all being targets who would have been run through him prior to a decision being made regarding a move in the transfer market.
With some of these players now having cult level status at Craven Cottage (Cairney and Mitrovic), while others are being touted for significant transfer fees this summer (Adarabioyo and Robinson), it would indeed appear that Ellis got many decisions right during his time in west London.
As such, with his departure leaving a considerable gap in the backroom team at Fulham, Silva – as well as Shahid and Tony Kahn – will need to act quickly to replace Ellis this summer in order to minimise disruption to the Cottagers’ transfer plans ahead of the club’s upcoming Championship campaign.