Fulham face keeper tug of war
August 26, 2010
With less than a week left of the transfer window, Mark Hughes will be hoping to do a little last minute shopping while holding on to his own players.
The biggest issue facing Hughes is the uncertainty surrounding keeper Mark Schwarzer’s future. The big Aussie is still being courted by Arsenal and has made his desire to join the Gunners quite clear.
However, a massive bonus for Hughes has been the form of Schwarzer’s understudy, David Stockdale, in the Fulham goal.
Whether he is able to do the business on a regular basis remains to be seen and it seems highly unlikely that Hughes would want to gamble on Stockdale staying fit and in form for the whole season.
The Schwarzer saga seems to highlight an increasing shortage of quality goalkeepers in the Premier League, with many sides being forced to pay massive amounts of cash in order to prise their targets away from their current clubs. It will be interesting to see if Arsenal get their way on this one. The latest Andy Gray podcast will no doubt have something to say about it if the deal does come off.
In front of the keeper, Hughes has been looking to strengthen his squad. He managed to make his first signing recently, bringing in Algerian defender Rafik Halliche. The club have also agreed a fee to sign PSV’s Mexican left-back Carlos Salcido who has been signed to cover the seemingly Liverpool bound Paul Konchesky. The left-back is in talks to join his former manager on Merseyside. A reported fee of £3.5million for the 29-year-old Konchesky who is entering the final year of his contract is probably as good a deal as the club could expect.
With Phillipe Senderos out for a large chunk of the season with injury, Halliche will prove valuable back-up to current first choice defensive pairing of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes. Halliche has joined Fulham on a three year deal after failing to break into the Benfica first team. The versatile defender played in all three of his country’s games at the World Cup this summer in South Africa. Some people made Fulham betting tips for relegation before the start of the season, but these signings should help them stay up.
A lot of Fulham’s success this season will depend on their keeper and his back four, so the next few weeks could be very interesting for fans of the club.