sportopinion

Fulham's recruitment team deserve praise for a successful summer transfer window

The club brought in eleven new faces while keeping key players, something that will be key as Fulham look to achieve automatic promotion

It seems like it lasted an age, but the 2017 summer transfer window is finally over, and Fulham have come out of it in a great position.

Eleven players came through the door at Motspur Park while the club's only big departures were Sone Aluko and Scott Malone, who joined Reading and Huddersfield respectively.

Tom Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon and Marcus Bettinelli were all signed to new long-term deals to stave off interested clubs, while other key members of the squad were also retained.

If someone told you the day after that Play-off defeat to Reading that most of the key players would still be at Fulham come September 1 and the club would have added strength in depth, you'd have bitten their hand off.

Okay, so Jota and Dwight Gayle didn't come off in the end, while the search for a striker took a little longer than first hoped - these things happen, but big names don't mean they'll be better players than ones you may have to Google.

(Image: Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com)

Let's have a look at Fulham's loan moves firstly, where six players were brought in, including Tomas Kalas and Lucas Piazon, Oliver Norwood, Jordan Graham, Sheyi Ojo and Rafa Soares.

That isn't a bad haul in itself and it contains some quality footballers, all of whom were signed without the club having to fork out tens of millions of pounds, which would've been the case if Piazon and Kalas were signed permanently.

From a business sense alone, this makes sense - why sign players for a large amount of money when you can get their services for a year for relatively very little, achieve whatever aim is set and then use the money received from that to strengthen the squad once they're in the Premier League?

It also means that you're getting quality players that may not have been available had the club looked in the permanent market - Norwood stands out as an example of this, teams in the Championship would kill for a player of his quality, yet Fulham secured his services for the year for next to nothing.

Fulham have played the loan market fantastically once again in my eyes, they secured Kalas and Piazon who were priorities, while signing players proven in the Championship (Norwood) as well as some of the brightest young players in the country in the case of Ojo.

On the attack: Rui Fonte(Image: Paul Burgman/Press-Photos.com)

Fans want players on permanent deals, but sometimes you need to look at it from a business sense, as Tony Khan and Craig Kline would have both done, and realise it's not always possible and sometimes a loan is the best option.

The club signed four players on a permanent deal, adding Rui Fonte, Aboubakar Kamara, Ibrahima Cisse and Marcelo Djalo to the squad.

That's two strikers, a defensive midfielder and a centre back.

Two of those areas Fulham were desperate for reinforcements - they were crying out for a striker while they needed depth in the centre back department.

Although Kamara, at present, is still getting to grips with English football, Fonte looks to have been an astute signing and could possibly be the man Fulham need up top to score goals and the recruitment team have done well to chase him all summer and close the deal.

Cisse adds depth to the midfield - if Kevin McDonald got injured last season Fulham were in trouble with no one to replace him, which was the case for most of the midfield.

However, now the club have the depth to replace him if things were to go wrong, as well as the ability to replace Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen with the addition of Norwood.

Djalo signing again adds depth at centre back, however, having only played in two Carabao Cup games the jury is still out on him and I personally think Fulham could have done with adding another centre back before the window shut to make it five to choose from.

Now we get to the signing that annoyed a fair few people when he was announced on deadline day - Yohan Mollo.

After the links with Jota and Gayle, some fans saw this as the most Fulhamish thing to possibly happen, signing a free agent on a free deal.

But in actual fact, it's a good bit of business in my eyes.

First of all, he's not cost anything, so it's risk free.

Secondly, he had a very decent spell at Sovetov and has proved he can play at a high level.

Slavisa Jokanovic with Tony Khan(Image: Fulham FC)

Thirdly, this wasn't a panic buy - Khan and Kline will have known about him for a while now, and once his contract was torn up it became the perfect opportunity to buy him.

Again, an example of the business model being employed by the recruitment team.

I also can't stress how important Cairney, Sessegnon and Bettinelli signing new contracts is - the fact that the core of the team that so well last season has remained intact should be celebrated from the rafters and it will be of the key components of Fulham's promotion charge this season.

I asked people on Twitter what they thought of the window and I got a range of responses, from delighted to unhappy - I think Fulham have done very well this summer, and although they weren't necessarily big names, they're going to add strength to the side, something they need to challenge for promotion.

Khan, Kline, the statisticians and the scouts, you did well - now it's time to get to work ahead of January.

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