First through the door in mid-June was Shaun Hutchinson on a free transfer, with the centre-back penning an initial two-year deal (with the option of an additional 12 months). The Newcastle-born youngster had forged a reputation in Scotland as a no-nonsense defender during a successful five-year spell with Motherwell. “Once I learned of Fulham’s interest, it was a no brainer for me and I couldn’t wait to get down and get signed,” he told the official website after putting pen to paper. “Obviously we all know the size of club that Fulham is and I couldn’t wait to come and have a look at it. There’s no hiding the fact that going from the SPL to the Championship is a step up, but it’s one that I believe I’m ready for and I can’t wait to get started.”
Just over a week later, the Club confirmed the signing of Adam Taggart. At the time, the 21-year-old striker was in Brazil having been part of the Australia squad competing at the World Cup, where he featured in their defeats by the Netherlands and Spain. An untimely injury disrupted the start of his Fulham career, with the young Socceroo still awaiting his debut.
The new arrivals were unrelenting and 24 hours later the signing of Tim Hoogland was announced. A man Felix Magath knew well from their time at Schalke 04 together, the former Germany youth international agreed a one-year deal at Craven Cottage. Hoogland has since gone on to be an ever-present in the Fulham side in our six games to date, showing his versatility having operated at both right-back and holding midfield, while he has also contributed in an attacking sense with two goals to his name.
Fans had to wait seven more days until the next new face, and it turned out to be a rival for Hoogland’s right-back role. Kay Voser penned a two-year contract with the option for an additional 12 months, having enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in his native Switzerland with FC Basel. An attack-minded full-back who can operate on the right or left, Voser made eight appearances in the UEFA Champions League last season, including victories home and away against our local rivals Chelsea.
Arguably our most high-profile transfer of the summer came in the form of Ross McCormack. There had been plenty of speculation that the striker was set to join from Leeds United, and his arrival for an undisclosed fee was announced on Tuesday 8th July. Last season’s top scorer in the Championship with 28 goals, McCormack’s arrival certainly signalled Fulham’s intent to get back to the top flight. Manager Magath was delighted to secure his signature, stating: “I'm glad for our fans that we've signed an experienced and exciting player, a Scotland international, with a great attitude and presence who can be a leader that our young and ambitious squad can learn from.”
The following day the squad was bolstered further with a new left-back; Konstantinos Stafylidis. The heavily-inked 20-year-old arrived on a season-long loan from Bayer Leverkusen, with the Club holding an option to make the move permanent at the end of the deal. Another who fits Magath’s philosophy of getting forward from the full-back position, Stafylidis has quickly won the support of the Fulham faithful courtesy of his passionate nature and committed displays. He’s also shown his versatility by operating in a more offensive starting position against both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Derby County.
It was a fortnight before anyone else joined the Fulham ranks, but it was worth the wait as exciting Arsenal youngster Thomas Eisfeld made the short trip from North to South-West London. Having started out in the Borussia Dortmund academy in his native Germany, he was highly rated by Arsene Wenger during his time with the Gunners. Competition for places at the Emirates meant he only made two appearances, but he still managed to find the back of the net on his full debut away to West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup. His arrival was immediately followed up on the same day by Adil Chihi, a free agent who had been on trial over the summer. The winger made his Whites debut in the weekend’s draw with Cardiff City.
While the team was on tour in Austria, Nikolay Bodurov added to the defensive options when he signed prior to the friendly fixture against Caykur Rizespor – in which he ended up playing 90 minutes. After signing, Bodurov told fulhamfc.com from their hotel base: “It’s a dream of mine. I see a good team here – the training camp has been good so far. Everything is very professional here and I think that we have everything we need to have a very successful season.”
Our 10th signing of the summer was Mark Fotheringham when the much-travelled midfield player agreed a one-year deal – he’s since gone on to make two appearances for his new club. And a week later another central midfielder joined on a free, when Dino Fazlic signed a contract of the same length.
With the season well under way, Magath continued to look for players who could strengthen his squad, and he pulled off something of a coup when Tiago Casasola put pen to paper. The 19-year-old defender had been scouted by many clubs, yet decided his future lay in SW6, telling the official website upon signing: “It’s a great Club and I’m very happy to be here. I know the Club has great fans and I also know it has a long history.” A debut was postponed as Fulham awaited international clearance, but he is now eligible to feature for his new side.
Going into the 2014/15 campaign, Marcus Bettinelli was the Club’s oldest goalkeeper at just 22 years of age. Therefore, veteran stopper Gabor Kiraly was added to the ranks on a one-year deal. It’s a move that Magath hopes will be beneficial for the development of both Bettinelli and fellow Academy graduate Jesse Joronen. “I was searching now for an older goalkeeper whose career is at the end and he should join us and both young goalkeepers to teach them and help them to develop,” the Fulham boss said.
The final incoming player joined moments before the closure of the transfer window when Matt Smith signed a three-year deal with the option for a further 12 months. The imposing frontman arrived from Leeds where he’d formed a deadly understanding with McCormack last term – banging in 13 goals in all competitions. It’s a rapport he hopes to replicate now that the pair are linking up once again: “Obviously Ross is a player I know very well,” Smith told fulhamfc.com. “We formed a good partnership with one another last season and hopefully we’ll see that again at Craven Cottage. It’s a partnership I hope will come to fruition again.”