Fulham - The Elephant in the Room
Our 2008/2009 season has come to a close.
To say it was successful is an understatement. Glorious seems more fitting. Soon we will begin preparations for our foray into Europe to participate in the Europe League and 2009/2010 Premier League campaign. Not to detract from the exhilaration that every Fulham fan must feel, one can`t help but be aware of the elephant in the room - what will become of our giant Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland.
As everyone is aware, there has been endless speculation over the past several months regarding the possibility that a larger club will swoop for our defensive stalwart. Arsenal and Aston Villa are two clubs continually linked with Hangeland. Of course, Man City will be linked with positively everyone this summer, so let`s not forget about that possibility. Fees in the neighborhood of £10-£15m have been suggested. Difficult to imagine us passing up such a profit for the 27-year-old who cost us £2.5, or that Brede, himself, would be willing to pass up the opportunity to join a larger club who could pay him more money and enable him to play Champions League football. I certainly couldn`t blame either party should they choose to make the move. Still, the Fulham faithful hold out hope that we`ll retain his services for at least one more season.
Regardless of the outcome, here`s hoping that the situation is resolved early in the summer. It will be very difficult to prepare for next season with the question of losing our best player looming. If Hangeland leaves, he will need to be replaced by a player prepared to start on opening day. Roy Hodgson may be able to unearth another diamond on short notice, like he did with Brede, but I`d rather not risk it. I`d rather be prepared to move forward on someone of proven quality well in advance of the start of the season, so that they can join the squad and become accustomed to our organization. Waiting until late July to find out Brede`s fate would be cutting it close. Additionally, if we were going to receive a fee of £10-£15m for Hangeland, those funds would certainly go a long way in helping Hodgson add to a paper thin squad that is currently unprepared for the rigors of campaigning on multiple fronts. Should the reverse be true and Hangeland doesn`t leave, then we can focus our transfer efforts in other areas that require strengthening.
So I say, "Arsene Wenger, if you`re coming, grab your checkbook and hurry along 'cause we can wait all summer!"