Fulham have recently tied star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to a long term contract which would keep him at Craven Cottage for five years. Although this is a great coup for the west London side, it should not be the only significant bit of business surrounding Fulham’s frontline, as the club lacks any depth in the role following an exodus of forwards this summer.
With the club being relegated from the Premier League it saw nearly all of the club’s forwards jump ship, with Andre Schurrle going back to Borussia Dortmund early, Lazar Markovic being released, Ryan Babel joining Galatasaray and Luciano Vietto returning to Atletico before moving to Sporting Lisbon permanently. It leaves Mitrovic and Aboubacar Kamara at the club, with the latter’s future being in question following a bust-up between the pair earlier in the season. Portuguese striker Rui Fonte is returning to the club following a loan spell at Lille, however his future is in doubt.
Fulham require reinforcements in their frontline before they begin their campaign to bounce straight back to the Premier League. Scott Parker’s side could use some improvements in front of goal, with the club only scoring 34 goals throughout last season. Mitrovic was the only player at Fulham that managed double digits in the league last season, with the next top scorer Schurrle bagging six goals. If the club are going to return to the peak of English football at the first time of asking, then it is paramount that they take some of the goal-scoring pressure off of the Serbian.
The west London club have two avenues that they can pursue to add depth to their strike-force next season. The club can either look to sign players for the long term or utilise the loan market as a short term fix for the upcoming season. I will look at one player that the club could look to sign permanently, and one they can sign on loan.
The permanent player that Fulham should look to invest in is “Championship specialist” Dwight Gayle. Gayle has somewhat of a reputation of being a player that is too good for the Championship yet not good enough for the Premier League, and his goal-scoring record reflects that. In two seasons in the Championship, Gayle has scored 47 goals, whereas in the top division he has only managed 21 goals in four seasons. Gayle could be the perfect signing to fire the club back up into the Premier League next season.
In terms of a loan signing, Fulham could look to a fellow London club in Watford to loan one of their attacking prospects, Dodi Lukabakio. The Belgium U21 international has recently completed a loan spell in the Bundesliga with Fortuna Dusseldorf. The 6ft two forward managed ten goals and three assists in 31 games for the newly-promoted side including a hat-trick against champions Bayern Munich. At 21-years-old he could use another loan spell away from Vicarage Road before he sees some first-team action at Watford, and Scott Parker’s side could offer the player some much-needed football.