Shahid Khan and the Fulham board were far from impressed with the club’s start to the season under Slavisa Jokanovic, having invested heavily in a squad they thought could challenge in the Premier League.
Say you took charge of the Cottagers rather than Claudio Ranieri, here’s everything you’d have in store with Football FanCast’s team guide to the Craven Cottage outfit on Football Manager 2019.
Investment in the wrong areas over the summer left Fulham in a mess and now all they ask is that you avoid relegation back into the Championship.
The Cottagers played delicious football in the Championship, but that does not mean they want to return there at the first time of asking.
Close to £100million was spent over the summer as Jean Michael Seri, Andre Zambo Anguissa and Aleksandar Mitrovic all joined on a permanent basis. Unfortunately, the previous manager’s spending and the excessive debt you inherit will hamper your transfer plans as there is just £3million left in the bank.
Even buying ageing stars whose value has slipped will prove difficult as the wage budget is nearly maxed out on £957,000, leaving just £20k to play with.
Fulham have a number of defenders on their books, but the majority are better suited to a central role. Only Cyrus Christie and Ibrahima Cisse are ideally suited to a wing-back position, but the 24-year-old Guinean lacks crossing, passing, tackling, and in his work off the ball – problem areas for a full-back.
One very well rounded option to bolster the right-back spot, and achievable within the tight budget, is the former Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy.
Fair enough, he’s now 32 so he’d only do the job for a few years at most, but the Saint-Etienne star has 15 tackling, 14 marking, 16 bravery, and 15 positioning, making him perfect for a defensive setup.
Some of the key men Jokanovic tempted to Craven Cottage included World Cup winner Andre Schurrle and Atletico Madrid’s Luciano Vitetto. The attacking duo possess great quality, even if they’re only on loan, but it means they must be played on the wings, leaving you without a backup for Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Colombian striker Miguel Borja would offer a solid, and cheap, striker to consider for the deputy role with 16 finishing, 15 heading and 13 strength, while only earning £13,000 a week at Brazilian side Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras.
If you want to add to your forward options, 26-year-old Rasmus Falk would be an ideal creative midfielder to pick up.
The Copenhagen star is capable of playing almost anywhere in midfield with a view to push forwards, and as a striker if needs must, with 16 dribbling, 15 technique, and 15 vision.
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Defensive midfielder Kevin McDonald is fourth in line for the role at Fulham, making the 29-year-old a potential candidate for the chop.
Being valued at £7.25million does the player no favours in sticking around, either, as his departure will considerably add to your transfer budget.
Selling Fabricio would be a wise move to make as the 30-year-old is earning £45,000-a-week while playing the backup role between the sticks.
You also have Marcus Bettinelli lurking in the U23s while he recovers from sprained wrist ligaments, and he would make a superb rotation option upon his return a few weeks into the season.
Stefan Johansen may be capable of playing down the spine of your side, and even on the wings if needed, but the 27-year-old’s best attribute is his stamina.
The midfielder’s other stats are considerably average, with ten finishing, 11 passing, and ten tackling, yet is valued at £9.75million.
It would be worth cashing in on his valuation, even if his £10k wage won’t add much to the budget.
Ryan Sessegnon is a star in the first-team either at left-back or left-wing, even if his Premier League season in real life is yet to get off to the same standard he ended the Championship in.
The teenager can go on become a top player, edging on the cusp of greatness, so make sure to build around the Roehampton-born ace.
Timmy Abraham joined Fulham in 2017 from Charlton Athletic’s academy and the forward can become a solid player for your side in years to come.
He will need loan moves to boost his progress outside the U23s, however.
Teenage star Cody Drameh has already burst free from the Under 18s to make a name for himself in Mark Pembridge’s U23 squad and will go on to become a top player.
The Lambeth native may not make it as a Premier League great, but you can always cash in on his growing status.