Since the first match whistle commenced the beginning of the season, Fulham have been in the form of their life. With an opening day 5-0 thumping of Norwich, the Cottagers have since lost only three times in ten games. Even within those losses, barring the defeat to West Ham, Fulham only lost by a margin, the 3-2 loss at Old Trafford and the 2-1 defeat to Man City.
Martin Jol’s success is largely based on the balance of his Fulham team which has seen young players like Alex Kacaniklic and Pajtim Kasami blossom alongside veteran stars Damien Duff and Dimitar Berbatov. And with Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz currently on four assists which is the fourth highest in the league, Fulham stand a great chance of a top-8 finish.
And someone who could be helping them on their way is Standard Liège’s William Vainqueur. The 23-year-old midfielder has emerged as one of the top transfer targets for The Lilywhites after impressing in his second full season with Liège. The tough-tackling player had three seasons under his belt with French side FC Nantes before making his move to Belgium.
With his price-tag a mere £4m, it seems like a bargain for a player who has the qualities to become the next Claude Makélélé. With Vainqueur signing a five-year contract just last year, it will take more than just the player’s consent for the transfer to go through. Yet with the Frenchman’s agent already stating the player’s desire to come to the Premier League, Jol’s work might be already half done. In relation to Sky Sports, Vainqueur’s agent Nico Vaesen stated: “Fulham’s style suits. They have a Dutch coach who likes a passing game.”
As the January transfer window is only a couple of months away, the conquering midfielder will have to wait if he wants to make the step up to Premier League football. Even with Vainqueur in the side, similar players like Mahamadou Diarra and most capped Greece player Giorgos Karagounis are still available to choose from. Yet with both nearing an end to their careers, the capture of Vainqueur will prove to be a long-term benefit for the Cottagers.
Fulham are on the verge of a highly successful season and look to have created the perfect team to charge up the league. Looking to beat their highest ever placed finish of seventh position and with Vainqueur already looking a winner (his surname’s direct English translation) could this be the year they do it?