We brought you the exclusive on Monday afternoon that Fulham are keen on a deal for Southampton’s Michael Obafemi, but what kind of impact would he have on the squad already present at Craven Cottage?
The bulky forward has scored four times and assisted in 32 Premier League appearances, largely as an impact substitute, but now at 21 is looking to earn regular first team football.
The Cottagers already boast a frightening attacking contingent for the level, however one that could only be strengthened by the pace and power Obafemi provides.
With Aboubakar Kamara seemingly putting the finishing touches to his outgoing transfer, Obafemi would provide a dangerous backup option to Aleksandar Mitrovic for Marco Silva to ponder.
However, every action has a reaction and that leads us to question what impact Obafemi’s arrival would have on the likes of Neeskens Kebano and Anthony Knockaert on the fringes and the team as a whole.
Here, then we look at two potential side-effects that could emerge if Fulham’s pursuit of Obafemi is finalised…
Change of system
Aleksandar Mitrovic has rarely been accustomed to playing a front two but the prospect of Obafemi and the Serbian as a pair would see second tier backlines quaking in their boots.
This could be a more realistic option should first choice number ten Fabio Carvalho depart the club, amidst Premier League interest and give the Cottagers’ wage bill a bit more sustainability.
Bobby Decordova-Reid would be the immediate option should Silva wish to deploy a front two however his game has developed substantially in the last few years, seeing him more comfortable as a wide player, the former striker stepped in admirably in a wing back role at times last term.
Obafemi’s obvious strength is his pace and running in behind, when that can be identified by an opposition they tend to shift their defensive line back in attempting to cut off the space between them and the goal.
This tactic could see teams less willing to come out of their shell against Fulham and simply look to contain, an approach that with the likes of ball playing midfielders Tom Cairney, Harrison Reed and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa yet to start a Championship game, could be successful with the Cottagers lacking the invention and creativity to break them down.
For all his physical assets Obafemi does not have the on the ball intelligence and guile of someone like Fabio Carvalho, who despite occupying a very different attacking role tends to generate more goalscoring opportunities of his own doing.