Fulham have had a poor start to the season, and perhaps it is time Martin Jol blooded some talented youth.
Fulham are currently in the relegation zone in the Premier League, having collected just 10 points from the opening 11 games of the season. In those 11 games they have only managed to find the net 10 times, which surprising considering the attacking options available.
So perhaps it is time for Martin Jol to hand an opportunity to Moussa Dembele. No, not that one. The 17-year-old striker from France.
Dimitar Berbatov, and fans in England know all too well, is capable of producing some magic despite looking like he doesn't have a care in the world for the game. However the magic has been missing this season, and he has just looked the latter, with only two goals scored so far.
The acquisition of Darren Bent on loan in the summer looked like it could be one of the better signings of the season. He has also failed to play to his potential. He is another experienced Premier League striker with a huge amount of ability, and the scorer of many goals in the past. The little and large combination of Bent and Berbatov seemed like it would be one of the stronger striker partnerships in the league. Unfortunately they have yet to click, and Bent himself has only found the net three times.
Martin Jol has plenty of other attacking options as well, to play off and around the striker. Bryan Ruiz and Hugo Rodallega have both scored plenty of goals at their previous clubs, and are more than capable of creating plenty of opportunities. Rodallega doesn't seem to be in favour with Jol, and hasn't really settled since his move from Wigan Athletic. The Colombian could well be on his way in January.
Adel Taarabt can fall into the same category as Berbatov, failing to look like he is throwing his all into the game. Another loan signing that looked as if it would represent a great piece of business for The Cottagers. He has had a disrupted start to the season with injuries.
With little effectiveness from the frontmen so far this season, perhaps Jol should hand an opportunity to Manchester United target Moussa Dembele. The 17-year-old joined Fulham in 2012 from Paris-Saint-Germain and has given a number of impressive performance for the club's Under-21 side. A particular good performance against United impressed Nicky Butt and Phil Neville and The Mail reported that they could be monitoring his situation.
West Brom have shown that handing first team opportunities to young strikers can pay off. Saido Berahino has hit the ground running this season, and was very unlucky to have missed out on the England squad announced last Thursday.
Fulham's academy are said to be angry at Martin Jol not giving youth players enough of a chance. The Mail reported that the relationship between the two has become strained, despite the belief that a number of the Under-21 players are more than capable of making the step up.
Buomesca Tue Na Bangna as well as Dembele are said to be the two players in outstanding form for the youth side this season. Given Fulham's current predicament, perhaps an injection of enthusiastic, energetic youth is exactly what is needed.
image: © Tom Cuppens