Fulham Need Marco Silva More Than Aleksandar Mitrovic

Silva rejected two approaches to join Al-Ahli while Mitrovic is pushing to join Al Hilal
13:00, 24 Jul 2023

Fulham and Saudi Arabia have been intertwined over the past few days. Manager Marco Silva has knocked back two approaches from Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli to become their new manager on a two-year deal worth £40 million. More recently, the Whites have knocked back two bids from Al Hilal for star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Unlike Silva, Mitrovic is tempted by the huge sums of money that Al Hilal can offer him. And while his loss would be a huge one for the Cottagers, it is nowhere near as heavy as if Silva had been lured away from west London.

Mitrovic has made his feelings clear on this big-money move. The Serbian forward was reportedly ready to never play for Fulham again unless they lowered their £52m valuation to let him make the switch to Saudi Arabia. Of course, given how important Mitrovic has been to the club in their return to the Premier League and their subsequent top-half finish last time out, Fulham will value the striker highly.


But when a player is looking to force a move away there isn't much you can do. He will leave but Fulham will strike a deal that benefits them. Mitrovic’s goals and physical presence will be very difficult for the Cottagers to replace but they already have a replacement lined up. Raul Jimenez is set to join from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £5.5m. The Mexican is hoping to rediscover the form he had before the horrific skull fracture which he suffered against Arsenal in 2020.

Pre-injury, Jimenez offered all the same skills that made Mitrovic a success at Fulham, and if he can somehow rediscover that version of himself the west London side will have found a very suitable replacement. It wouldn’t have been so easy had it been Silva heading for the exit.

Fulham officials were believed to be as taken aback as the rest of us that the Portuguese coach decided his future was in west London, but those kinds of surprises are the most welcome


The trajectory he has led the club on in the past two seasons is invaluable when compared to Mitrovic’s goals. He unlocked the best form of the Serbian attacker’s career as well as building a strong squad that was able to readjust to the top flight with ease after a couple of yo-yo years interchanging between the Premier League and the Championship.

In the past decade only Scott Parker and Slavisa Jokanovic have lasted more than two years in the Fulham dugout but neither got to see out a third. Silva has a chance to end this trend and his rejection of Al-Ahli would suggest he is confident that he can continue to take Fulham to new heights.

This is also the first time in a decade that Fulham will be competing in a second successive Premier League campaign, which allows Silva to bring some much-needed stability to Craven Cottage. 

With the exciting cocktail of talent that Silva has brewing, many are wondering if the former Everton boss can push his team to compete for one of the coveted European spots in 2023-24. There was a period last term when it seemed like they were an outside shot for finishing inside the top seven. They may have fallen away towards the end but everyone was full of praise for Fulham and Silva for continuing the adventurous style that saw them storm to the Championship title in 2021-22.

Silva and owner Shahid Khan will collaborate over the coming weeks to discuss transfer business to get the squad in its best shape to build on last year’s stellar finish. Silva’s time at Fulham has recaptured the imagination of the fan base and the supporters feel that he is building something in SW6.

The project he has set forth at Fulham is worth far more to the club than their talismanic striker Mitrovic, and with Silva as the architect, his services are needed much more than any of the players. 

Fulham are 4/1 to finish in the top half with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware 

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