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Fulham are my biggest Championship frustration as regular readers will know. Great to watch; open, attacking and playing attractive passing football but with their manager having inexplicably changed his favoured formation from last season, they simply haven’t looked like the same force.
In last year’s 4-2-3-1, especially in the second half of the season, the balance was superb. Johansen scored bonus goals from his preferred position deep in the centre of midfield, Aluko played in his favoured right wing position and cut in on to his left foot while youngster Ryan Sessegnon was allowed to go forward on the left of the three to devastating effect.
Tom Cairney played in the centre of the three behind the striker and at one stage attracted bids of around £20million from Newcastle United but now, with him asked to play wide of centre in a 4-3-3, Sessegnon playing at left-back and Johansen pushed forward they look all out of whack.
Given the typical stubbornness of football managers, I can’t think the 4-3-3 is going anywhere for a while so I wouldn’t be against the club selling Tom Cairney, perhaps to Newcastle, as his career is stalling somewhat although he would play in his preferred central role at St. James’ Park and would bring huge funds into Fulham.
As long as Ryan Sessegnon is concerned, if Jokanovic is willing to play him in the forward line and let him do his thing then they should resist the temptation of big money offers from the likes of Tottenham, as another 6-12 months here could help both the player and the club.
This means that the arrival of any decent left-back would let Sessegnon go forward. Their main striking position is still a sticking point which brings them into play with the much sought after Lewis Grabban, currently on loan at Sunderland.
The Bournemouth striker has been excellent for the Black Cats this term and can be recalled in January before being sold off. Ben Marshall of Wolves has also been linked and he is one who can sit left of the centre and provide quality passes to the front line while defender Craig Cathcart remains a target and one who may add some much needed defensive solidity to the side.
In: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Ben Marshall (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth), any left-back.
Out: Tom Cairney
Keep: Ryan Sessegnon