Fulham 2022-23 season preview: Transfer struggles undermine effort to finally break promotion-relegation cycle

·2-min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Not enough has been done at Fulham this summer, if you ask Marco Silva. The Portuguese has warned the club is not ready for its opening game against Liverpool at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

After winning the Championship last term, Silva has seen warning signs during pre-season and has concerns about recruitment.

It means Fulham kick off with some trepidation as they bid to avoid another immediate return to the second tier.

Standard Sport’s Nizaar Kinsella assesses the state of play in west London as the 2022-23 Premier League campaign begins.

How have they done in the window?

Fulham started their summer business with the £18million signing of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha and have also brought in Andreas Pereira and Kevin Mbabu on permanent deals.

Israel winger Manor Solomon has joined on loan while this week they signed goalkeeper Bernd Leno in an £8m deal from Arsenal. Silva believes Fulham are short in defence and the Cottagers are targeting a move for West Ham centre-back Issa Diop.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tactic to look out for

Fulham played a 4-2-3-1 last season and have continued with the system in pre-season. Part of Silva’s concern is that he has wanted to switch to a more defensive set up ahead of the campaign but has lacked the numbers in the right areas.

Breakthrough star?

There are no youth players in the first-team squad but former Manchester City centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo is out to prove himself. At 24, he remains young for a starter in his position and will be in the spotlight back in the Premier League.

Is the manager under pressure?

Silva has arguably put pressure on himself with his comments last week. “We, as a squad, are not ready,” he said after naming only three senior outfield players on the bench for their final pre-season friendly against Villarreal.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Fulham’s owners will point to several new signings, and should the team start badly, owner Shahid Khan has never been shy of pressing the button.

Success would be?

Finishing 17th or higher. Their past two promotions to the Premier League were followed by immediate relegation. Aleksandar Mitrovic could be key to their chances of staying up after his record haul of 43 Championship goals last season.

Failure would be?

If Fulham cannot break the cycle of promotion followed by relegation then it would suggest they are not learning from their mistakes. First up is a game against a side who beat Manchester City in the Community Shield last week, so they could be on the back foot from the off.

Player of the year will be?

Palhinha was instrumental in Sporting winning a first title in 19 years last season, and he will be central to Silva’s plans this term. The powerful defensive midfielder, who was targeted by bigger clubs, has a reputation as an enforcer, with the technical ability you would expect from a Portugal international.

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