Fulham manager Martin Jol has surprised everyone by exchanging all of his first team squad except Bryan Ruiz for Sheffield United’s 2011 FA Youth Cup runner-up team.
“At first we looked at the Man United squad. They were the winners of that tournament, after all, and I am not stupid. But we couldn’t get that deal done. So I approached Sheffield United and the deal worked for both clubs. We expect to exchange the players via mini-bus this afternoon.”
Jol, whose remit is to keep Fulham in the Premier League while making the squad younger, privately feels that this deal makes this objective “virtually in the bag” and plans to take most of the rest of the season off. He will travel extensively throughout March, and is particularly looking forward to visiting Mexico.
A late hitch appeared when Sheffield United objected to Bjorn-Helge Riise’s inclusion in the deal – they’d had him before and found him annoying to have about the place – but both parties worked long into the night thrashing out a solution. Riise will be sent to Sheffield Wednesday on loan for the rest of the season.
More news as we get it.