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Jokanovic signing this 26-year old beast midfielder could establish Fulham as a top-six contender

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Why signing Jean Michael Seri could establish Fulham as a top-six contender

Slavisa Jokanovic’s men have been on an upward trajectory since the previous season. Nobody expected Fulham to get promoted in the initial stages of the campaign and yet, they have successfully booked a spot for themselves in the Premier League.

Now, with the summer transfer window up and running, not many people expected them to beat the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea to sign OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri. However, as per a report from Daily Mail, the Cottagers are edging closer to securing a deal for the talented Ivory Coast star.

The report further states that Fulham will table a bid in the region of £18million to acquire the 26-year-old’s services, which seems a tad surprising since Seri’s release clause stands at £35million.

However, according to an earlier report by Daily Star, the player’s agent had mentioned that the release clause is valid only until July 15th and that’s hardly a few days away. Hence, it makes sense for the newly-promoted outfit to take advantage of the situation.

Over the course of the last campaign, Seri scored 2 goals and provided 6 assists. He usually occupies a role in the centre of the midfield and his style is quite defensive.

Despite being quite adept at providing a tough shield of protection ahead of the back four, Seri is also proficient when it comes to supporting the attackers. He can occupy a deeper role in the midfield, meaning he could truly revamp Fulham’s performances next season.

Seri is one of the most skilled midfielders across Europe and if Fulham manage to sign him, it will be nothing short of a coup for the club. As far as Jokanovic’s squad is concerned, Seri could work wonders alongside club captain Tom Cairney in the heart of the park.

The duo must focus towards working in tandem and forge a solid partnership in central midfield. And with players like Ryan Sessegnon in the mix, Fulham could launch an attempt to challenge for a top-six spot.

Read More: Why this 32-year-old former England international would be a perfect signing for Fulham

That said, it is still too early to build castles in the air. The prospect of signing Seri will sound tantalizing for the club and its fans and they must do everything to acquire his services ahead of other suitors.

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Fulham

Excellent Kabasele, average Pereyra – The best and the worst-rated Watford players in 1-1 draw vs Fulham

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Watford player ratings vs Fulham: Who impressed for the Hornets?

Watford continued their fine run of form in the Premier League as the Hornets held Fulham to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.  The Hornets took the lead only ninety seconds into the game when Andre Gray latched on to Will Hughes’ through ball and guided it past Marcus Bettinelli to give the away side the perfect start to the match.

Watford took advantage of some shaky defending from the home side and dominated the first half. However, the Cottagers clawed their way back into the game after Slavisa Jokanovic made some substitutions at the interval to plug the holes at the back. Fulham had the lion’s share of possession in the second half but had nothing to show for their efforts till the 78th minute, as Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in from close range to give the home side a much-needed equalizer.

Fulham continued to throw caution to the winds and the Cottagers could have won it at the end but Mitrovic’s header bounced off the crossbar. Watford defended with a lot of character in the dying stages of the match to bag a point. The draw keeps Watford 4th in the league standings with 13 points from 6 games.

Watford player ratings

Ben Foster (6/10)

He did not have much to do as Fulham did not have too many clear scoring opportunities; made a good save in the first half to deny an equalizer. He was hardly at fault for the goal.

Daryl Janmaat (6.5/10)

The Dutchman impressed with his movement up and down the pitch. Got forward with purpose and linked the play well but the end product wasn’t anything significant. He should have done more to prevent the cross which led to the equalizer.

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Craig Cathcart (7/10)

The Irishman had another good day in the heart of the defence and did a fine job against Mitrovic and company. Showed a lot of strength and made some solid blocks.

Christian Kabasele (8/10)

The Belgian had a wonderful day in the heart of the defence, often utilizing his strength to keep Mitrovic at bay for most of the game. Showed good agility and presence of mind to cover for Jose Holebas, whenever the left-back ventured forward.

Jose Holebas (6.5/10)

The 34-year-old was good with his set-pieces and made some good challenges at the back. Ventured forward and tried to make things happen but often left open spaces at the back for the opposition to exploit.

Abdoulaye Doucoure (6.5/10)

The Frenchman had a decent game in the heart of the midfield. He made some good interceptions to break the play and carried the ball forward with purpose.

Etienne Capoue (6.5/10)

He did not make many mistakes and kept the ball ticking in the midfield. He controlled the tempo of the game and switched the play with some accurate passing.

Will Hughes (7.5/10)

The Englishman was a lively presence down the right and looked dangerous going forward. He linked up well with the strikers and set up Gray for the first goal.

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Roberto Pereyra (6/10)

Not a particularly good day at the office for the Argentine. He got forward but struggled to get into the game at times. And even when he got into good positions, he was poor with his shooting.

Andre Gray (7.5/10)

He posed threat in the attacking third and was at the right place to get at the end of Hughes’ through ball to score the opening goal. He used his strength well to shield the ball and linked up well with his teammates.

Troy Deeney (6.5/10)

Not the best of days at the office for the prolific No.9. He did a good job to win the ball on multiple occasions and linked well with the other attackers but lacked that final spark.

Read More:- Who is this £2million striker Watford have signed? All you need to know

Substitutes

Kiko Femenia  (5/10)

Played a more defensive role down the right but did not make much of an impact.

Isaac Success (5/10)

The Nigerian was lively in the final third and had a crack at the goal. 

Ken Sema (N/A)

Had little time to do anything.

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Fulham

Fulham’s on-loan sensation could combat Jose Holebas and Craig Cathcart to lead the Cottagers to glory against Watford

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Andre Schurrle holds the key to Fulham’s success against Watford

Slavisa Jokanovic’s men have made a slow start to their Premier League campaign. The 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last weekend marked the Cottagers’ third defeat of the ongoing season, having previously gone down to Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur. The highlight of their current campaign came in the 4-2 win over Burnley when Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a brace with his head.

Although Fulham have made a lukewarm start to their season with only a solitary win from five games, they do not have much to worry about when they face Watford on Saturday. Not denying the fact that Watford have been in tremendous form but Fulham have also shown a lot of promise in the defeats against Spurs and City.

The club’s plush financial backing helped them secure mega-money deals for Aleksandar Mitrovic (loan deal made permanent), Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle (on loan).

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Much to the joy of the manager, all his new signings have come good so far and have hit the ground running in the Premier League. While Mitrovic has surpassed all expectations, Seri has not only established himself as the team’s midfield powerhouse but has also built a good reputation in England for his all-around excellence in the midfield. Meanwhile, Schurrle has been a lively presence down the left and already has two goals to his name.

Jose Holebas has been one of Watford’s standout performers of the season along with Troy Deeney. The flying left-back has been involved in five of Watford’s ten goals so far, scoring one himself and setting up another four for his teammates.

However, despite his contribution to the attack, he has often left open spaces for the opposition to exploit. Although he has commendable recovery pace, he has left far too much space for the opposition to launch attacks from the left.

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Andre Schurrle has been in impressive form and had a good game against Manchester City. Schurrle should relish the luxury of having someone like Ryan Sessegnon as his partner down the left. Sessegnon must start the game as a left-back and his presence will offer Schurrle enough assistance with his overlapping runs.

Although Mitrovic has been in red-hot form, he did struggle against the strength of Nicolas Otamendi in the previous game. Truth be told, he could once again have a tough day against the in-form duo Christian Kabasele and Craig Cathcart in the heart of Watford’s defence.

Read More:- Comparing 23-goal Championship star to this £20million Premier League sensation – Two different strikers going down similar paths?

The duel between Schurrle and Holebas could go a long way in deciding the tie between these two evenly-matched teams this weekend. 

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Not Sessegnon – Fulham must tie down this academy graduate to a new and improved contract

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Why Fulham must offer Marcus Bettinelli a new contract

According to Daily Mail, Fulham are set to offer England goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli a new contract before the end of September. Bettinelli’s current contract is set to expire at the end of next season and Fulham have the option of extending his stay by 12 months.

However, the Cottagers must not risk their No.1 choice between the sticks. Bettinelli was the subject of interest from West Ham and Crystal Palace in the summer and Fulham want to keep potential suitors at bay by offering the 26-year-old a new contract (h/t Daily Mail).

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side have made a slow start to their Premier League campaign with only a solitary win from their first five games. However, the Cottagers were impressive in the 4-2 win over Burnley and put together a decent performance in the 2-2 draw against Brighton. Despite losing a few games, Fulham have looked promising, especially in the attacking third.

Fulham made headlines in the summer by signing Aleksandar Mitrovic (loan deal made permanent), Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle. However, they did not do enough to bolster their defence and the result has been quite evident.

The Cottagers have already conceded 12 goals from their first five matches and the lack of defensive options could possibly be a roadblock to their chances of survival in the Premier League. Considering the quality of players that Fulham have in their ranks, they are not outright relegation contenders but they haven’t helped themselves with a lacklustre start to the campaign.

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Besides Mitrovic, Seri and Schurrle, Marcus Bettinelli has arguably been Fulham’s standout performer. As a result of his fine performances, he was called by Gareth Southgate for international duty in England’s UEFA Nations League fixtures against Spain and Switzerland.

A product of Fulham’s youth academy, Bettinelli signed his first professional contract with the Cottagers in 2010 and has made a total of 101 appearances for the club across all competitions. Over the course of his career with Fulham, he was relegated to bench duty numerous times in the past and even spent time on loan at Accrington Stanley. Now, however, the 26-year-old has managed to establish himself as the club’s No.1 between the sticks.

He was a regular for Fulham in the Championship last season, where he made 26 appearances and 63 saves, averaging 2.3 saves per game. In the Premier League this term, Bettinelli has managed 9 saves so far at the rate of 3 per game, which goes to show his reliability and consistency.

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In his earlier days, Bettinelli was vulnerable while collecting crosses and aerial balls and struggled to deal with close-range shots. However, he has taken his game to a new level this season. The 26-year-old has already put in three outstanding shifts between the sticks, looking confident while dealing with crosses. The incredible penalty save against Brighton and the one-on-one save to deny Raheem Sterling against Manchester City have been the highlights of his stellar displays in the Premier League so far.

Read More:- Opinion: Jokanovic’s Fulham might have lost their opening games but they will be a force to reckon with soon

Bettinelli is definitely one of England’s rising shot stoppers and his stock has soared higher after he was called up to the England squad. Fulham should not waste any time in offering him a new deal with improved wages to keep him at the club. In fact, he might be the key to Fulham’s fortunes in the Premier League this season.

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