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With their excellent Championship campaign still going ahead, Fulham are already looking to the summer and are thinking about completing a deal for SPAL centre-back Francesco Vicari.
Fulham’s attacking play has been tremendous this season and their carefree approach has led to them being the joint top scorers in the league this season. That swashbuckling style, however, can often land them in trouble at the back, so a typically robust Italian defender could be just what the side needs.
Tim Ream’s experience at the back has been important this season but they’ll need more than one calming influence back there next season, whichever league they are in. Vicari could provide that with the 22-year-old former Novara man having now played 100 first team games, all in an environment where defence is king. Not surprisingly, Vicari has received a couple of red cards in his time in Serie B too but one straight red in 100 games plus a dismissal for two bookings is probably not as bad as it could have been.
Tomas Kalas has been playing regularly alongside Ream this term but is only on loan from Chelsea. With the Czech Republic defender due back at Stamford Bridge at the end of the month, Fulham will need to act quickly to replace him and preferably on a permanent basis. Slavisa Jokanovic would be all too aware that, should they manage to keep most or all of their attacking talent, the forward areas will take care of themselves. He’d know that it’s the central defensive area which needs special attention.
Austrian Michael Madl may stay at the club but doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer at centre-back while exactly the same can be said of Ragnar Sigurdsson. With this in mind, along with the impending departure of Thomas Kalas, Fulham may need to bring in more than one centre-back for the challenges next season and so they cannot afford to pass up a good opportunity.
Players like Vicari by their very nature are enigmas. On one hand, they may not handle the speed of English football and can turn out to be disastrous signings. On the other though, they may prove to be defensive rocks and can be bought for very small fees. If Fulham sign Vicari, they could be bagging a great value defender.