Why Danny Simpson would be a fantastic signing for Fulham in January
Ranieri and Simpson worked together at Leicester City and won the Premier League title in 2015-16. Reports claim that the Foxes are likely to place the 31-year-old right-back on the transfer list in January but the long-term injury to Daniel Amartey might force them to offer the veteran a new deal.
Simpson was a key member of Leicester City’s Premier League winning squad in 2015/16 and was an influential figure at the back alongside Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs. He was one of the first names on the team sheet until last season but the arrival of Portuguese international Ricardo Pereira in the summer has pushed him down the pecking order.
The 31-year-old’s involvement has been limited to only a solitary start in the Premier League this term. Simpson put in a solid shift at the back in the penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup, keeping Brahim Diaz and Raheem Sterling at bay.
His solid display against a high-quality opposition showed that there are no chinks in his armour despite being on the other side of 30.
A youth product of Manchester United, Simpson made only 3 appearances for the Red Devils and spent time on loan at Disneyland, Ipswich Town, Royal Antwerp and Newcastle before being released by his boyhood club in 2010.
He played in the Europa League for Newcastle and had a brief stint with QPR before joining Leicester City. Simpson has made 128 appearances for the Foxes over the course of 4 seasons.
Simpson’s style of play is probably a flow back to a bygone era. The dynamism of the modern game demands the full-backs to provide an attacking outlet down the flanks but the veteran is more of an old-school right-back who likes to sit back and defend.
Simpson makes up for his lack of attacking prowess with his superior game reading ability at the back, which allows him to break up the play with crucial tackles and interceptions. He is not particularly known for his tackling but he is a defender with high levels of concentration and composure, and rarely dives into reckless challenges.
His sound positional sense as a full-back means that he is rarely caught out of position. In fact, he averaged 1.7 tackles, 3.1 interceptions and 4.2 clearances per game when Leicester won the Premier League.
To put things into perspective, he would be a fantastic signing for relegation contenders Fulham. The Cottagers have shipped goals at an alarming rate this season, having conceded 42 already and have a dismal goal difference of -26.
Much of Fulham’s woes this season has been down to their porous and vulnerable defence. While neither Jokanovic nor Ranieri has been able to stick to a settled pairing at the heart of the defence due to the inconsistent performances of Denis Odoi, Maxime Le Marchand, Tim Ream and Alfie Mawson, the full-backs deserve a fair share of the blame.
Right-back Cyrus Christie has had a torrid time this season so far and his lack of awareness at the back has allowed the opposition plenty of joy down the flanks. Manchester United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah did a decent job on the right at the start of the season but Fulham have been in trouble ever since he got injured.
That said, Fulham are in desperate need of a right-back and an experienced customer like Danny Simpson can be the ideal man to answer Ranieri’s prayers.