Replacing Ruiz shouldn’t be Fulham’s focus
Bryan Ruiz has featured as often as he did last season. Rather than playing the majority of minutes this season, the Costa Rica captain has been a bit-part player in the Fulham squad. It’s not good for his general happiness, and with a World Cup looming it’s not a shock to see him moving in order to secure first-team football.
January 14th, 2014
However, it is the seemingly ludicrous decision to favour the two-month signing of Clint Dempsey over keeping Ruiz around the squad that will continue to worsen Fulham’s problems in the Premier League.
The Lilywhites are just one point above the relegation zone and in the middle of a terrible run. They have lost five of their last seven league matches at home, winning two and four of the last six in total, again winning two.
Rene Meulensteen cannot expect his team to continue to play the way they have and retain their status as a top-flight club. Their prospects appear worse when you consider they boast the worst goal difference in the league at the moment. When it gets to the nitty gritty, a poor goal difference can prove crucial.
Following Saturday’s 4-1 hammering at the hands of Sunderland at home, Shahid Khan’s team have now conceded a league-high 46 goals so far this season.
Yet somehow the club appears to be only interested in securing the signings of attacking-minded players. Their wish list, according to a number of sources, includes Ravel Morrison, Mohamed Diame and Larnell Cole.
Morrison and Cole, both products of the Manchester United youth system, are well-known to Meulensteen from his time with the club. They are exciting, attacking players eager to drive forward. Diame is an all-action midfielder with a penchant for chipping in with goals.
They are not players that spring to mind when you think of players that might help a team concede fewer goals. They are not defensively-minded, even if Diame can do a job alongside the right midfield partner.
Bryan Ruiz’s departure is a blow to Fulham and the Premier League. After his £10 million move to London, it’s fair to say that English football only saw rare flashes of his brilliance. However, replacing him shouldn’t be a worry for now. Dimitar Berbatov, Adel Taarabt, Darren Bent and Clint Dempsey (for now) have enough goals in them to keep things ticking over.
The worry is that neither the new head coach nor his new technical director, Alan Curbishley appears to be focusing their attention on adding defensive bodies to the squad. No clean sheets in seven in all competitions will be the reason Fulham find themselves in a relegation fight; not because they don’t sign another two attacking midfielders.