Fulham - Where did it all go wrong for Mladen Petric?

Mladen Petric

Mladen Petric could leave Fulham after just one season at the club, according to reports.

It appeared when the season began that Mladen Petric could become the bargain of 2012/13, having seemingly settled instantly at Fulham.

He was brought in on a free transfer by Martin Jol, who used to manage to Croatian at Hamburg in the Bundesliga.

With Clint Dempsey in the midst of a strike amid his impending departure, Fulham needed a hero and in pre-season it appeared the new addition could just be the man.

Petric scored five goals in pre-season in five games, showing confidence and no issues at all in gelling with his new teammates.

And he carried this into the Premier League in a devastating performances against a woeful Norwich side on the opening day.

Fulham won 5-0 with Petric scoring twice and creating another, but that remains his only Premier League brace of the campaign.

In fact the Croatian has scored just three goals for the club since in the division, and is even being tipped for an exit, with the Express this weekend claiming the striker wants to headback to Germany.

Even Martin Jol was non-committal on his future, stating bluntly: "I’m not sure he will stay."

So where did it all go wrong for the striker?

Sadly for Petric, it can be traced all the way back to September 1 last year, and a 3-0 defeat on the road at West Ham.

After 45 minutes he was substituted after a limp performance, and replaced by Dimitar Berbatov who had arrived at the club just 24 hours earlier on deadline day.

Berbatov did not find the scoresheet, but his classy display won rave reviews, and the Bulgarian's arrival meant Petric would be shuffled out of the side on a more regular basis.

Petric would start just two out of the next nine games - scoring once, and he did not complete 90 minutes for Fulham until November 24, in a 1-0 loss at Stoke.

It's a theme which the forward has been unable to break, having failed to start any of Fulham's last 10 Premier League games, it appears as though his time is running out, and failing to score in the Premier League since December.

Petric was clearly enjoying being Fulham's main man early on, and manager Martin Jol decided he could simply not accommodate both he and Berbatov in the same line-up from a tactical point of view.

But the striker need also look at himself, for the 32-year-old has looked like a shadow of the dynamic footballer who seemed so dangerous back in August.

Whichever the predominant reason, the fact Petric may not hang around is a shame for he appeared to have the look of a potential star for Fulham, but at this stage of his career you can hardly blame him for wanting to move on if the alternative is spending another season on the bench at Craven Cottage?

Fulham fans what do you make of Petric's ups and downs?

image: © az1172

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