Fulham’s survival hopes are hanging by a thread, and if the Whites are to be relegated from the Premier League, there will need to be a serious inquest at the club.
As ever, the man who will take the brunt of the blame will undoubtedly be Tony Khan, and while we think he gets something of a rough ride from the fanbase at times, we can’t ignore the errors he’s made this season and the long-term implications of those mistakes.
The reality is that Fulham are likely to go down, and if they do, they don’t have the tools at their disposal to rebuild, and that’s down to Khan.
Fulham’s squad at the moment is heavily-reliant on loan players. We have seven players at the club on loan at the moment, and you very rarely see the Whites step onto the pitch without at least five of them in the starting XI.
It’s not rare to see recently-relegated teams bounce back at the first time of asking – just look at what Norwich and Watford are doing this season, but they’ve done that by keeping the players that stood out for them in the Premier League.
The likes of Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell, Ismaila Sarr and Will Hughes are still at Norwich and Watford respectively, but Ademola Lookman, Joachim Anderson, Ola Aina and Alphonse Areola aren’t likely to be joining Fulham in the Championship should they go down.
The worst part of this is, Khan promised us that this wouldn’t happen.
“We won’t spend £100m again, I don’t think we need to. The best players we bought are still with us,” Khan said in his infamous interview with The Times.
“I feel better about the club, it’s not as if we have to build again. I have already exercised most of options on loan players and I expect the squad to look very similar to the one that got promoted.”
As we all know, we did have to build again. This squad looks nothing like the one that beat Brentford at Wembley last season, and if we go down, we will be left with a real mess to clean up once again
Of course, later in the interview Khan dropped a quote that must still haunt him to this day.
“I can’t be in the business of developing other people’s players when they don’t have time to play them,” Khan quipped.
Not being in the business of developing other people’s players is a good business model, but it just doesn’t add up when you see that Fulham have made more loan signings this season than any other Premier League side.
To make matters even worse, Fulham are one of only three teams in the top flight to fail to field a player under the age of 21 this season, so our academy isn’t even producing enough to plug the gaps that may be left behind by these seven departures.
There’s still the outside chance that Fulham stay up, and if they do, these loan signings will look like masterstrokes, but at the moment, things look pretty grim.
However, if the Whites go down, and the core of the squad departs, Khan will once again look a fool for betraying his pre-season promise at Craven Cottage.