Saturday’s win did many things but most of all it reminded us that, while the current Fulham squad does need a bit of tweaking, it contains a number of good players and making moves in January for the sake of making moves in January is probably not something we need to get too involved with.
Take the AJ situation. For a long time I have been of the view that taking £2m for a player at this stage of his career and contract cycle would probably be a good thing. But my thinking overlooked the crucial fact that Johnson is a known quantity within the club, and while he may not be able to usefully start every week, there will be games where he can be very important indeed. Had we shifted Johnson to Blackburn we’d have money in the bank but probably would not have managed that epic comeback. Nobody else in the squad plays like he plays so we’d have had to find another plan B, and that Plan B would surely not have worked as well as Jol’s actual Plan B. A hopeless defeat on the back of that Blackburn hopeless defeat could have been devastating to the team.
Now I don’t know how many situations are AJ situations anymore, but his role in the team’s two biggest wins this season is surely something to ponder (there’s a challenge: what did these games have in common?). So, based on all this, it seems unlikely that Jol will sell Johnson. Jol’s said as much for some time but it’s always felt like managerspeak. Johnson, I suspect, has played his way back into a Fulham future.
Ditto Zamora. There was an interesting thing in the Guardian’s Secret Footballer column about how sometimes a new manager will deliberately make life difficult for a key player as a way to impose himself on his new squad: if I can do this to x, imagine what’ll happen to you if you step out of line, being the presumed thinking. From our lofty position as innocent bystanders we can’t really know what happens behind those Motspur Park hedges, but it’s not too great a leap to imagine that this is exactly what has been happening. Zamora, though, has again proved himself to be a unique and valuable contributor. Unless someone offers silly money for him it’s hard to see him leaving now, and the only team with money and desperation is QPR, and you can imagine how likely MAF is to sanction a sale to them at this point.
So where is the weakness we need to urgently fix? Defence? Hardly. Midfield? Chris Baird has shown us again how useful he can be in there. Up front we have Zamora and Johnson and Dempsey to deputise, so while it’d be nice to take a punt on a Rhodes or a Maynard, it seems unlikely that the deal would suit either the buying or the selling club at this moment in time – far better to take a considered view of things in the summer.
I don’t think we’ll do anything at all.