Why Fulham's struggles are self-inflicted
Fulham's pre-season spending spree seemed to show the club's big desire to have a more successful 2018/19 season than merely being involved in a relegation dogfight.
However, by signing 12 new players at a total cost just below £100million, the Cottagers have seemingly disrupted the team's momentum and unity that was evident in last season's successful promotion campaign to the Premier League.
Fulham should have learned the negative consequences of signing too many new players from London-based counterparts Queens Park Rangers. QPR roped in 12 new players ahead of the 2012/13 season and endured a disappointing campaign which culminated in relegation.
Two of those 12 new signings made by The Hoops were goalkeepers Robert Green and Júlio César neither of whom were able to cement their grip on the club’s number one jersey.
Moreover, the club’s decision to part company with the handy Paddy Kenny, who manned the goals for 33 league games the previous season and helped QPR to avoid relegation, was a huge mistake.
This goalkeeping situation has astonishingly been replicated by Fulham this season. The Cottagers decided to recruit two new goalkeepers in Sergio Rico and Fabri despite the presence of Marcus Bettinelli who was a revelation in goals and one of the crucial components in Fulham's promotion to the Premier League.
The foolishness of this decision is evident by the fact that Fabri, who cost the club a reported £5m fee, was not even in the 18-man squad for Fulham's recent 1-5 defeat by the hands of Arsenal on the 7th of October 2018.
Aston Villa was another team which fell victim to the chronic repercussions of recruiting a vast volume of players. Villa signed a multitude of new players before the commencement of the 2015/16 season and ended up getting relegated and having four different managers in charge that season.
And, in hindsight, Aston Villa's decision to sign four new center-backs - namely Joleon Lescott, José Ángel Crespo, Tiago Ilori and Micah Richards - placed them in a hole overflowing with too much competition for one position.
Despite already possessing American center-back Tim Ream, Fulham's Player of the Year last season, Fulham fell into the very same hole Villa previously encountered. The Cottagers brought in an unnecessary three new centre-backs in Alfie Mawson, Maxime Le Marchand and Calum Chambers.
Fulham's struggles so far this season, like QPR and Aston Villa experienced, is a result of the consequences of a complete squad overhaul. By signing 12 new players, the team spirit and togetherness that Fulham possessed last season was destroyed.
This is because the players from last season who have remained in West London may now feel that the manager, Slaviša Jokanović, does not believe in their quality. Therefore, their morale will decline.
Furthermore, Jokanović now has to get his philosophy across to a virtually completely new squad of players and thus it will take time for the players to understand his philosophy. It will also take a while before the players begin to gel on the field. Hence, the club's poor start to the current season with only one victory from eight league matches.
Patience is required from Fulham's fans and owner Shahid Khan if Jokanović for his new group of players to recapture their successful form of last season.