Martin Jol ready for new Fulham adventure after ruthless releases

Fulham Turnstiles

Fulham quietly appear set to undergo one of the biggest transformations in the Premier League this summer.

Martin Jol has a reputation as one of football's nice guys, but as well as anybody he realises there is no room for sentiment in football.

A promising start to the season ended terribly for the west Londoners, who lost six of their last eight games, ending the campaign with a surprise 3-0 away win at Swansea.

It saw them lose out on an almost certain top half finish, sliding to 12th - and their manager is seemingly ready to start afresh.

Just like Fulham waved goodbye to first team regular Danny Murphy last summer, Martin Jol has done so again - allowing impressive utility man Chris Baird to move on.

Following him out the door are Giorgiou Karagounis, a short-term if committed performer, and the injury-prone duo of Simon Davies and Mahamadou Diarra.

All four could have made cases to be kept on another season, but Jol has shown Fulham need to make bold decisions and bring in entirely new faces to move forward. U-turns are not impossible in each case, but at present indications are each will be allowed to move on.

Already bought in is long-term target Derek Boateng - a defensive midfielder, while in goal Fulham have allowed veteran Mark Schwarzer to fly the nest with Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg an excellent addition.

Last summer was a difficult one for Fulham, with transfer sagas of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele hanging over them until late August, losing two key players with little time to spare.

Most of that money is still available to spend, with loan deals used to plug gaps in January with Emmanuel Frimpong and Urby Emanuelson.

The fruits of that are coming to bear now, with PSV striker Ola Toivonen another target. There is interest over talented Swede Alex Kacanikic, but Fulham's healthy finances place them well to see off the Premier League predators which are circling.

Fulham are acting boldy, for Martin Jol knows that leaving it as it were, was simply not an option for the club. If he can bring in a number of key acquisitions over the next month they will be well set for pre-season.

Their Premier League winning under-18 side also offers clear promise for the future, and the shifting of older high earners out of the squad and off the wage bill could even hand one or two the chance to impress next season in the right circumstances.

It may have been a tough end to the season with fans wondering where the club was heading, but while early on in the summer, fans should be feeling positive about the next one already.

What do you think about Fulham's prospects next season? Should Chris Baird have been kept?


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