May 18 2013 Latest news:
Ben Walker, London24 Fulham blogger
Friday, March 16, 2012
“It’s time to start looking towards the future. Jol has put together a team that, whilst they still can’t win away regularly, are good to watch a have a look of potential”
With ten games to go in this campaign and safety hopefully secured for another season (fingers crossed!) it’s time to start looking towards the future. Jol has put together a team that, whilst they still can’t win away regularly, are good to watch a have a look of potential.
The next big step for the side is going to be contract renewals with a number of key players out of contract in the next year and a half. Contract talks have apparently started with players so let’s have a look at which players need to be kept….
The Pog (Summer 2012) – Sign him up! He’s had an amazing impact so far, five in four can’t be wrong! It’s more than his goals though; his workrate, ability to hold the ball up and link up with AJ and the midfield have really impressed. He obviously can’t keep this scoring rate going but I believe he’s already shown enough to be awarded with a longer contract.
Murphy (Summer 2012) – Now at the stage of his career where I’d imagine the club and him make a joint decision every year as to whether he is up to another year. Recent performances alongside Dembele (bar Villa) show that he’s probably got another year in the legs yet and he’s earned the right to decide when enough is enough.
AJ (Summer 2012) – A tricky one this. In patches, especially in a 4-4-2, he’s looked good this year and he’s stayed fit for longer than pretty much any season at Fulham bar his first year. However, he’s still only got three league goals (and a few in Europe) and despite providing a few assists he would have hoped for more. We are not exactly brimming full of strikers at the moment (even with the Pog) so I think the club should offer him a new contract. However, I would be worried about potential three year deal considering his age and fitness record. If he continues to play hardball then him leaving at the end of the season wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Dempsey (Summer 2013 allegedly) – Goes without saying that we need get Clint on a new contract and the club are working to make this happen. 18 goals in all competitions and 12 in the league alone show that Clint continues to be a vital player for us, popping up with crucial goals again and again. He and Riise have shown a good understanding on the left flank. The problem will be that at 29 he’ll be aware that this will be his last chance to test himself at a highest level and he may want to play Champions League football. He’ll be 30 at the end of his contract so it’s vital the club continue our recent progress and convince him to see out his best years with the club.
Dembele (Summer 2013 allegedly) – Mousa has been an absolute revelation in centre midfield in the last month or so. Composed on the ball, good distribution, silky skills, a good work effort and physicality off it. Jol himself admitted that Dembele doesn’t score enough goals for a striker and has maybe hit on his best position. Again it’s going to be vital for our long term progression to get him tied to a long term contract and let him, Ruiz, Dempsey and the Pog thrive together.
Hangeland (Summer 2013 allegedly) – Brede has got to go down as one of our best ever signings. For around 2.5 million we’ve had around 200 appearances in all competitions already and he has played a key part in, arguably, our strongest ever defence. He’ll be 32 by the end of next season but he’s easily worth another 2-3 years with his great fitness record. It’s still amazing that none of the “big four” or a big team in Europe have not come in for him.
Diarra (Summer 2012) – Hard to judge this one. As the saying goes ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’, but he looked real quality against Wolves and did ok against Villa. I know Wolves were rubbish but he looked strong, seemed to have lots of time on the ball and distributed it well including setting up Clint for his second goal. If he continues in this vain and can stay injury free then I’m sure Jol will be taking up the extra one year option in his contract.
Kelly (Summer 2012) – Has surprised a lot of people this year. He’ll never have Riise’s drive forward and overlapping ability but has been solid enough at the back this year and is probably worth a new contract. I’d still sign another more forward thinking Right Back mind.
Grygera (Summer 2012) – A real shame that he got injured as he looked very steady earlier in the season and may well have earned himself another year if injury hadn’t intervened. As it is he’ll be off in the summer
Somogyi (Summer 2012) – Thanks and bye.
Frei (Summer 2013) - I really, really hope the club are trying to tie down Frei for as long as possible. He looks a great talent and is only going to get better with the right handling
Hughes (Summer 2013) – Has fallen down the pecking order under Jol and has found himself as third choice Centre Back behind Hangeland and Senderos. He’s still got another year and will be 33 by the end of next year. My guess is that Fulham will let him move on although I feel he’s worth another year.
Baird (Summer 2013) – He’s been a great servant to the club although he hasn’t had his best year at club with personal problems affecting him. Fingers crossed his personal life is ok and he can come back and be the footballer we know he is. His transformation from being the whipping boy of the Sanchez regime to fan favourite has been remarkable and his versatility is a vital asset to the team. Got to be a keeper if possible.