Fulham could borrow their way to Premier League safety

Fulham could borrow their way to Premier League safety with loanees Ademola Lookman, Joachim Andersen and Alphonse Areola leading the Cottagers’ survival bid

  • Fulham beat Sheffield United 1-0 to secure a key victory in their relegation battle 
  • After spending £100million last time, Fulham are making shrewd loan moves
  • Even if the Cottagers go down they will be in a better financial place as a result

A loanee scored, a loanee assisted, and a loanee saved all of Sheffield United’s late attempts at salvaging a draw. Scott Parker’s Fulham may well borrow their way to safety this season.

Parker secured his biggest Premier League win using players on loan from seven clubs. The last time Fulham were promoted, they spent big then dropped straight back down.

‘The worst £100million ever spent,’ one headline read following relegation. They didn’t want to make the same mistake. What’s admirable is how these loanees have shown they care about the cause. 

Fulham boss Scott Parker (centre) has made some shrewd loan moves to boost his survival bid

They don’t look like passers-by who joined for the promise of a plush Hammersmith apartment by the Thames, paid for by the club. They look like they want Parker to remain a Premier League manager. Credit must go to Parker for that, and for getting on board with this Fulham model.

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. Ola Aina is on loan from Torino. Joachim Andersen is from Lyon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea, Ademola Lookman from RB Leipzig, and Josh Maja from Bordeaux. 

Mario Lemina, on loan from Southampton, came off the bench on Saturday as Fulham won their must-win match. It was Andersen who launched a long ball to Lookman after 60 minutes for Fulham to finally beat the Blades. 

Chris Wilder’s side were defending in numbers but Lookman barged his way beyond Ethan Ampadu to score. It left Fulham within touching distance of safety.

Joachim Andersen was instrumental in the Cottagers’ crucial 1-0 win against Sheffield United

Parker said: ‘When you have young players who want to get better, players who want to prove themselves in this division, it makes life much easier for me.’

For Sheffield United, the writing is on the wall, and Wilder knows it.

He spent most of his post-match press conference complaining about a penalty which was not awarded in the dying moments after Fulham goalkeeper Areola collided with Jayden Bogle. 

VAR decided Areola got the ball. He did, but he could also have broken Bogle’s leg.

Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (left) was lucky not to give away a penalty for a foul

Wilder said the Premier League don’t care about his team or their complaints because they are on their way out of the division. ‘They’re not that bothered —nobody’s bothered about us,’ Wilder said.

‘The only person who’s bothered about Sheffield United is me when we come on to those meetings. Me, and the people involved in the football club. Nobody’s bothered.

‘But for the life of me I’m telling you, there will be some comment and debate and discussion of moaning and groaning if that happens to one of the big boys.

‘I’m just delighted that Jayden is getting back on the coach.’ 

Ademola Lookman scored the game’s only goal to earn victory for relegation-threatened side

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