Fulham defender Maxime Le Marchand has suggested that he could yet still stay with the club next season in the Championship, but also that a return to Belgium is a possibility.
Le Marchand was part of the squad that sealed promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2019/20, with him managing to make 12 appearances in the league in the regular campaign. However, he was deemed surplus by Scott Parker in the winter window after not playing since October and he made a loan move to Belgian side Royal Antwerp.
During his time in the Belgian top-flight the defender has managed to make 12 appearances in the league and he has scored three goals and helped them record three clean sheets in that time. That has seen the 31-year-old regain some form after a difficult period over the last few seasons since he made the move to Craven Cottage.
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Speaking to Gazete van Antwerpen, Le Marchand suggested that he could still return to Fulham and be part of their squad in the Championship next term. While he also indicated there might be the possibility he could return to Belgium as well.
He said: “I am under contract at Fulham for another year.
“They have dropped to the English second division and will have to rebuild their squad.
“I haven’t heard anything from them yet, but I’ll return after this season, and we’ll see what happens then.
“It certainly plays to my advantage that I have accumulated playing minutes at a high level.
“Whether I can ever become a contract player with a top Belgian club? Absolutely. I don’t see why not. It depends, of course, on the length of the contract and the finances.
“I feel good here, and the Belgian league is very interesting. Playing for prizes is much more fun as a football player than relegation football.”
It would be a surprise if Le Marchand came back into the fold and was a key part of the Fulham side next season in the Championship. However, Parker did have him as part of his squad in the 2019/20 campaign and he is a useful player in the English second tier, but perhaps lacks enough quality to be someone that they should be relying on to be a regular starter.
The 31-year-old has regained a lot of form and will have more confidence again now following his form for Antwerp in the Belgian top-flight in the second half of the campaign. That means he would be able to return to the Fulham squad ready to prove his worth and to convince Parker that he can be a key part of their squad once again.
Antwerp could decide to make a permanent move for him given the strength of his performances for them. These comments suggest that is something that he would consider if the chance became available and the situation was right with his wage offer from the club. It will be interesting to see what happens with his future and what Parker decides to do with him.