Marco Silva and his Fulham squad have learnt the hard way over the last month or so that life back in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League is far from plain sailing.
They made a barnstorming start to the 2021/22 campaign – taking 13 points from a possible 15 in August – but came unstuck in September and have slipped five points back from the top of the Championship table.
Their drop in form has coincided with the injury to teenage playmaker Fabio Carvalho, who provided three goals and an assist in the first five games of the campaign and was a vital part of their attacking play but has not featured since August.
Fulham will hope to have the young magician back fit for their local derby with QPR on the 16th of October but they have more to worry about than just his fitness at the moment.
Football League World has been exclusively informed that the west London club are growing increasingly concerned about Carvalho’s contract situation.
The 19-year-old is set to become a free agent in the summer and despite being offered a deal understood to be in the region of £25,000-per-week, is yet to agree new terms with his current club.
The attacking midfielder has drawn links to the likes of Leeds United and West Ham United (Sun on Sunday, 08/08;p66), as well as recently Spanish giants Real Madrid, and this latest update may have those clubs licking their lips as the January window approaches.
However, it is not time for Fulham to push the panic button just yet.
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The Daily Mail has reported that the teenager will not consider signing the new contract until he has a new management team in place, with his current agreement with Unique Sports Management ending in January.
If Fulham are back on course for Premier League promotion by that point with Carvalho playing a key role, then the in-demand playmaker may well feel there is no better place for him at this point in his career.
A move to the likes of Leeds, West Ham, or even Real Madrid would certainly be exciting but they will not be able to offer him the chance to be a key player in the senior side now.
Fulham can offer that and if they continue to do so in the coming months and can get their promotion push back on track, they should be able to convince him to stay.