Where Are They Now? Fulham's Class of 2018/19 Who Cost More Than £100m - And Were Relegated

16 May 2020 06:35

A tight win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final in 2018 saw Fulham return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2013/14 season.

Playing some of the most attacking and free-flowing football in the Championship during the 2017/18 season, many tipped the west London club to thrive in England's top flight. But while they were a constant threat going forward, they did have major defensive frailties. In fact, despite gaining promotion, they conceded 46 goals in the league that season.

Reinforcements were required if the Cottagers were to make the necessary step up to the top flight, but no one quite expected Fulham to bring in as many players as they did.

Fulham spent over £100m that summer alone, but it's fair to say they didn't quite have the impact the club's hierarchy were hoping for. The 2018/19 season saw them finish second bottom of the Premier League, with just 26 points to their name. Not only that, the main area that needed reinforcement - the defence - was brutally exposed that campaign. The Whites conceded a remarkable 81 goals in just 38 games.

Following their relegation, the club needed to readjust financially, while some players simply didn't see their future in west London any longer. But what has happened to them?

90min has dug out their footballing map to find them.


Permanent Signings

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Fulham's record signing, Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa was Fulham's fifth (FIFTH!) and final arrival on transfer deadline day in the summer of 2018.

The powerful midfielder joined for around £30m and, understandably, there was a lot of pressure placed on him to impress from the off. But Anguissa struggled to settle in to life in England and appeared off the pace early on. Wasteful on the ball and lethargic out of possession, fans were left underwhelmed by his displays.

Anguissa started just 16 Premier League games in 2018/19, and after being relegated, the Cameroon international was sent out on loan to Villarreal for the 2019/20 season. The 24-year-old has featured regularly for the Spanish outfit, although he was limited to mainly substitute appearances before play was halted.

Villarreal have the option to make the move permanent in the summer. A waste of £30m.


Jean Michael Seri

Another player that arrived for big money, but ultimately failed to impress.

Fulham beat the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea to the signature of Jean Michael Seri, who arrived for around £25m. A midfielder who was expected to add bite in the centre of the park and tenacity, while also showing quality on the ball to ping passes around and fit into the team's attacking style of play.

Seri made 31 Premier League appearances in 2018/19 as Fulham persisted with him, and he was as equally brilliant as he was frustrating. Clever flicks and tricks were also mixed with a lack of hunger and desire in times when they required him to step up most. Now on loan at Galatasaray, he has made 29 appearances in all competitions. Should Galatasaray wish to make the deal permanent, they can for around £15.2m.

A player who should be thriving on the biggest stage, but is now playing his football without much attention paid to him.


Aleksandar Mitrovic

Mitrovic was sensational during his loan spell with Fulham in 2017/18, grabbing 12 goals in just 17 Championship games in the second half of the campaign. His form was key to seeing the club gain promotion and, as a result, few could argue with the Cottagers' decision to make the move permanent.

Joining for around £27m, Mitrovic continued to find the net with great regularity, chipping in with 11 league goals in a tough season in the top flight, where he was presented with very few opportunities. The striker has stayed with the club and is once again leading the fight for promotion. 23 goals in 34 appearances so far in 2019/20 isn't exactly a bad return, is it?


Fabri

What was Fulham's obsession with signing goalkeepers? And was there no one better to waste £5m on? Seriously?

Fabri joined on a three-year deal. The only problem with this deal was.well, they didn't need him (they would also sign another shot-stopper).

Sure enough, the goalkeeper made all of two appearances in 2018/19 - the first two games of the season - before being dropped to the bench, and then from the squad altogether. Fabri eventually joined Mallorca on loan in the summer of 2019, but has still continued to warm the bench. Just the four appearances for the Spaniard.

Why Fulham, why?


Alfie Mawson

Alfie Mawson for £20m?!

Fulham were clearly desperate for a defender if they were willing to fork out that much on the former Swansea City man. Brought in to be the leader at the back, Mawson instead struggled with injuries and managed to start just 13 league games in 2018/19.

The centre-back is still with Fulham and is trying to live up to his price tag, but £20m was just an obscene amount to pay for a Championship-level defender.


Joe Bryan

Bryan has made the left-back spot his own since arriving on deadline day in the summer of 2018 for around £6m. He was a regular during his first season with the club and has been a valuable first team member this campaign, performing his duties at the back and providing support in attack.

At £6m, this was one of Fulham's smaller deals, but has proven to be one of the better pieces of business.


Maxime Le Marchand

Le Marchand was brought in along with Seri, and came with a reputation of being versatile. Unfortunately for Fulham fans, while he was versatile, he was by no means the answer to their problems at the back.

At all.

He's still at the club, but the Frenchman has managed just nine appearances in all competitions due to injury.


Loan Signings

Sergio Rico

Joining on loan, Sergio Rico was brought in to compete for the number one spot. Well, he eventually made it his own and actually produced a number of fine performances to keep his side in games.

A good signing?!

But he didn't stay permanently, instead he returned to Sevilla at the end of the season and is now with Paris Saint-Germain, acting as the backup goalkeeper.

Oh.


Andre Schurrle

Schurrle didn't arrive for a massive fee, but fans were thrilled to see a World Cup winner with quality and experience arrive through the doors at Craven Cottage.

The German should be playing in his second season at the club as arranged in the loan agreement, but after the club were relegated, he was sent back to Borussia Dortmund before being shipped out on loan again - this time to Spartak Moscow.

Schurrle's quality is undoubted and he showed that on occasion during his loan spell, but he lacked consistency. Where did it all go wrong for him?


Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Another last minute deal, but this could have proven to be very shrewd business from Fulham. Bringing in Fosu-Mensah on loan, the London club knew they would have a versatile and talented player on their hands if they could keep him fit.

But they couldn't.

Fosu-Mensah struggled to overcome his injury problems to make an impact during his loan spell, and is now back with his parent club Manchester United. But he hasn't been able to compete for a spot in the first team squad this campaign.


Calum Chambers

Fulham needed centre-backs, but instead decided to move Calum Chambers, who joined on loan, into a holding midfield role as the season progressed.

And while it was a peculiar decision considering their need for defenders, he performed well before returning to Arsenal in the summer. He has been involved with the first team this season and was competing for a starting spot before being ruled out through injury.


Luciano Vietto

Another deadline day loan deal, and another that looked promising.

But Vietto was barely offered the chance to play up front alongside Mitrovic, instead being forced to operate out on the wing or behind the striker. As a result, he managed just one goal for the club.

If given the opportunities he required, it could have turned out very different for Vietto. Nonetheless, in the summer of 2019, Vietto completed a move to Sporting CP for just €7.5m. He hasn't been prolific this season for the Portuguese outfit, but he has managed eight goals and five assists in 31 appearances.


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Source: 90min