Here at CCN we haven’t got too involved with the whole transfer window nonsense. Perhaps the recent good performances have dulled our hunger; perhaps the return of various players just make things look a bit better.
Before the window we’d have identified the following needs:
a defender of some sort. Some wanted a right-back; others left.
a central midfielder. We’re not short of these, of course, but the idea was to get a better player than the current cadre, ideally someone young enough to succeed the Murph when his legs do finally “go”.
a centre forward. Because of Zamora’s injury.
What have we got? Steve Sidwell for one, and in his one and a bit games he’s looked handy. I’m not convinced yet that he’s doing anything that Jon Greening can’t do, but he does look like he has something about him.
Gael Kakutacould be anything, although I’m inclined to assume that the player he most closely resembles in our side is Moussa Dembele. Kakuta’s looked phenomenal whenever I’ve seen him play (on Match of the Day), but it’s been so long since we had a young, dynamic flair player that I really can’t picture him in a Fulham shirt. It could be Wayne Routledge all over again, or Giles Barnes, or something altogether new. We shall see. What it isn’t is Shaun Wright Phillips, which is a shame because SWP is a good player and very nippy to boot; we distinctly lack nippiness, AJ’s return to relevance notwithstanding.
And then what? The centre-forward of our dreams is still not in our car, and it seems increasingly likely that we’ll be back on the phone to Millwall and asking for ‘insurance choice’ Steve Morison (whose Millwall form has gone to pot since the window opened) after all. He’d be a Kuqi type signing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Kuqi being an interesting example of perception perhaps overtaking reality: for one thing he really never was that fat, and for all his myriad limitations, he made some quite important contributions to a desperately poor side, without which, etc, etc).
Do we still need a centre forward? Yes, but AJ is better than we could have dared hope, and with Dembele dovetailing nicely behind him I’m less inclined to panic. Sure we missed chances at Anfield, but that’s what teams do; you can’t score them all. Perhaps we’d be better off making do and mending, then signing a progressive player in the summer.
At full-back we seem likely to pick the roving left back that is Paul Konchesky. I have no bone to pick with Konch, who, like his former manager, took a career choice that backfired badly. We’ve all done it, and it seems ridiculous to suggest that we shouldn’t want him back because he once left us. This strikes me as the worst kind of unthinking: if we need a left back and the best available is Paul Konchesky, then certainly we should sign Paul Konchesky. What are we worried about; that he’ll want to leave us again? That he won’t be committed because he once dared presume to leave Fulham behind. Give me strength.
I’m not sure that there’ll be anything else beyond the above, and I’m not sure there needs to be. With AJ and Dembele fit and well we look a decent side, and the return of Zamora will only improve this. Sidwell’s a good fit for the middle of the pitch, and Konchesky would certainly be useful while the promising but perhaps disorientated Salcido gets his head on straight.