I think on the whole we can all be very pleased with how this summer transfer window went. We saw four new boys come through the door last week, and I think all of them are going to fit in brilliantly at Fulham.
Harry Arter was first, and I just love his intensity for the game. He wins the ball back so well, but there’s a lot more about him that just that. He’s got good feet, can play left or right foot, so I think it’s a great signing for us. He’s a very experienced player in this league, obviously he’s been promoted with Bournemouth so he knows the ins and outs. Some would say he’s too good for the Championship, so I’m glad he’s with us. He just wants to play football and Scotty will be buzzing that he’s got him.
Bobby Decordova-Reid was a fantastic late addition and gives us a different option to Mitro. I think we needed to boost that area of the pitch, and he can play up top if Mitro’s injured or suspended. Touch wood he won’t be, but Bobby can do that job at number nine, we’ve seen him do it at Bristol City where he scored loads of goals. Arguably his best position is in behind the striker, being busy. He’s a good footballer and has an eye for goal, so hopefully he can be a big contributor this season. He’s another hungry player who’s had a taste of the Premier League, so he’ll want to get back there as quickly as possible, and hopefully Fulham’s the team he can achieve that with.
I’ve seen quite a bit of Josh Onomah. After coming through the ranks at Tottenham he’s had a couple of loan moves, so now he’s got his permanent transfer to us he can really push on. It’s time for him to take the next step in his career, he felt he needed first team football and he’s going to want game time at Fulham. There is a lot of competition for places now so it’s not going to be easy for him, but it shows what kind of character he is that he wanted to leave his comfort zone at Spurs and come here.
Harrison Reed has played a lot of Championship football over the last two seasons so he brings a lot of know-how to the squad. He’s a hard worker so his signing adds some further fresh legs to the group. Scott had said that he thought we were a bit light in midfield, so it was good to see us address that in the transfer window. Competition for places is great, especially in the Championship where you often have two games a week.
Our only departure was, of course, Ryan Sessegnon. It’s hard to see him go, but he departs with our best wishes having given his all for Fulham during his time here. There’s a lot of youngsters now who, before they’ve even played a game for the club they were brought up at, move on to a big club. But I take my hat off to Ryan, he was very humble, he wanted to learn his trade, he played 120 times for Fulham. Because of that, he’s got so much experience for someone his age and he’s earned a big move. Some people will think he should have stayed for his development, but now we just wish him all the best and carry on focusing on Fulham.
Barnsley on the opening day was obviously a bad day at the office, but I never get too frustrated by the first couple of matches of the season, especially in the Championship. It wasn’t a great performance but you’re only as good as your next game and we managed to get the result against Blackburn. There were a lot of pleasing things about that, but for me the highlights were Tom Cairney’s amazing goal, and the clean sheet. In previous seasons in this division, we’ve often started quite slow, so it’s important now to build on that win. That was a big task for Scotty, assembling a squad and then ensuring we didn’t suffer a hangover after getting relegated.
We’re off to Huddersfield on Friday and can hopefully take advantage of the fact they don’t seem to have found their feet yet. They’ve struggled so far and obviously lost Aaron Mooy, who’s one of their better players, to Brighton on deadline day. It’s on a Friday night, away from home, and they’re going to make it difficult for us, but I strongly believe that the team Scotty’s assembled can do a lot of damage. Away from home, teams are going to come onto us a bit more, and with the guys we’ve got in the midfield and forward areas, we can really cause some problems on the break.