Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fulham Goes Shopping

Fulham's new Manager Roy Hodgson is going shopping during the January transfer window. On his wish list is Watford striker Marlon King and Blackburn midfielder Robbie Savage. King has indicated that he is leaving Watford and indicated the Fulham is his likely desitnation.

King has 11 goals in 24 appearances this year with the Championship League side. Last season, King sat with a long-term knee injury, but still managed four goals in 12 appearances. In the 05-06 season, King scored 22 goals in 43 appearences for Watford. Throughout his career, King has had roughly one goal every two appearences. Which is not bad. If he maintained that production, he would have 9 goals in Fulhams remaining 18 matches.

I don't know if King is the goal scorer I think Fulham needs, but even if he is not, his historical production will be better than the White's goal scoring so far this year.

On the other hand, Robbie Savage is not known for finding the back of the net. But he is experienced and could provide that onfield leadership that Fulham seems to be lacking at this point. The problem of course, is that Savage is being sought also by Derby County and Sunderland, the two other teams in the relegation zone.

Other players rumored to be on Hodgson wish list include Liverpool's Harry Kewell and West Ham's Bobby Zamora. Both strikers have not had much playing time or found the back of the net this year. So, I wonder what Hodgson is seeing in them.

One area that does not appear to be covered by the new manager's shopping is defense.
Fulham's defensive record, especially in the second half of matches, has come under increased scrutiny over the past few months as leads have regularly been lost late on in games. However, despite Fulham's position Hodgson will not be solely focused on Fulham's defensive game as he looks for improvements across the board.

“I’m not prepared to say my aim is to make Fulham better defensively. My aim is to work hard and try and do a good job so the team is confident going onto the pitch and play well. I think when talking about philosophies its better off letting other people speak for you. Ideally it would be good if in terms of football philosophy and what type of football I like to see played it would be very nice for me if the team could show you that.

“For me football is about attacking and defending. It’s very difficult to win matches if all you want to do is defend. You’ve got to be good in both areas of the game. There’s no doubt of course that when you find yourself at the bottom end of the table and there’s no margin for error it is important to defend properly because of you go one or two goals down you give yourself a mountain to climb and all the time the score is level you’ve got a better chance.
I have stated that I believe Fulham needs to name one and only one defensive leader, whether that is Carlos Bocanegra, Dejan Stefanovic, or Aaron Hughes and stick with that person and make sure the other defensive players follow that lead. The defense has been marked by serious lapses in coordination and assignments. That cannot continue.

Still, it is early in the transfer window and Hodgson may still find a defensive leader he needs. Right now, I would take Marlon King and Bobby Zamora based on past performance. Savage would provide good leadership in the short term, but probably won't be a good long term addition given his age.


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