By Fulham FOL
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Reports are suggesting that Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are the latest clubs to be following the fortunes of Fulham playmaker Moussa Dembele, with the three big-spenders viewing the Belgian as a less expensive resolution to their respective midfield troubles.
The impending Financial Fair Play rules come into effect over the summer and many clubs are keen to make this year’s transfer window a somewhat less extravagant one. Dembele, who only has one year left on contract at Craven Cottage, could well prove to be a relatively economical purchase.
The attacking midfielder, formerly of AZ Alkmaar, is unlikely to seek new terms with his current side after declaring his interest in playing at Europe’s highest level and, as such, a deal to tempt him away from South West
London may not have to be overly lucrative. Fulham, in their attempts to retain one of their most influential players, are unlikely to break their own stringent wage structure.
Despite initially joining Fulham as a striker, Dembele has thrived under manager Martin Jol when deployed either in the centre of midfield, as he has been recently, or behind the strikers, proving to be a prolific playmaker capable of retaining the ball with an unnervingly perfect touch and also creating chances out of seemingly perilous situations. In that sense, he will be a player that is difficult to replace.
There is little doubt that Jol will attempt to keep ahold of the player but it is though that, were an acceptable offer to come in – around £12 million – Jol and Chairman Mohammed Al Fayed would be willing to sanction a move.
A replacement, however, will be undoubtedly hard to come by. There are top quality playmakers out there, and available ones too, but none in the same ilk as Dembele who has mastered a tough craft with his ball retention skills and surprisingly vast upper-body strength.
The only names linked the way of Fulham so far have been Luciano Narsingh, a right winger by trade with an uncanny knack for setting up goals, and Oussama Assaidi, a left winger known predominantly for his abundant pace. They’re both said to be fine players, but neither in a similar role to the one which Dembele currently fulfils
One of the strongest suggestions continues to be Tottenham Hotspur’s Niko Kranjcar, who has been linked with Jol many times over the past campaign. He is a player well capable of turning a game on its head and could fill the void left by Dembele with an air of authoritarian experience.
Despite the furore that currently surrounds his potential departure from Fulham, Dembele himself was quick to draw focus onto Sunday’s game against Tottenham, where he hopes he can end the season on a high note.
"Everyone here wants to go into the summer on a good feeling,” said the midfielder. “I think the last game always stays in your mind, so we know we need to win at Tottenham. We are desperate to finish the season in the best possible way.
"It will be a very difficult game because Tottenham are still trying very hard to get in the Champions League."
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