Right now, it would be hard to blame those of a Fulham persuasion for being worried about the future of Fabio Carvalho.
Having emerged onto the scene as the Cottagers were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, the 19-year-old has now become a key figure for the club and then Championship.
Prior to the injury that has left him sidelined for the past few weeks, the teenager had scored three goals and provided one assist in five league games to help spearhead the Cottagers’ push for an immediate promotion back to the Premier League this season.
Indeed, it is noticeable that Fulham’s early season form has been blunted somewhat by Carvalho’s absence recently, and that will be a source of concern for the club in the wake of recent speculation around the attacker.
As things stand, Carvalho is into the final year of his contract at Craven Cottage, meaning he could sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club from January, or move anywhere for free at the end of this season if no deal with Fulham has been agreed by then.
Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, it seems as though the teenager is starting to attract plenty of attention from across Europe.
Given the appeal for club’s of those size in some of the biggest leagues in the world to Carvalho, and with that financial backing behind those sides, you can understand why Fulham might feel they are facing a big challenge to convince the winger to sign a new contract at Craven Cottage.
However, it is hard not to feel that Carvalho would be taking something of a risk if he was to jump at the chance of a move to one of those clubs when the transfer window reopens in January.
If Carvalho was to move to one of those top continental clubs, then the options available to those sides, both at senior and youth level, could leave the winger battling not to get lost in the myriad of talent they possess.
That could then lead to him become a somewhat forgotten man, given his experience still only amounts to a handful of first-team games, potentially making it hard for him to force his way up the pecking order, and stunting his development in the process.
By contrast, a move to a club such as Southampton, who have won just four of their last 27 Premier League games – with two of those victories coming against sides who are now in the Championship, including ironically, Fulham – come January, could leave Carvalho facing the prospect of a swift return to the Championship, and it would be a huge challenge to ask the teenager to be the one to prevent that.
On the flip to side to that, if Carvalho was sign a new dealto remain at Fulham, and as early indicators suggest, prove himself to be a key figure in helping the Cottagers secure a return to the top-flight, then that would surely guarantee him the chance to prove himself week in week out in the Premier League with Marco Silva’s side next season.
Should that happen, then given the promise he has already shown at that level, and the developments he could make with a full campaign in the Championship, you would expect Carvalho to flourish in the Premier League next season.
That in turn, would make it a lot harder for potential buyers not to play Carvalho if by that point, he is already an established and proven top-flight player, giving himself an even stronger foundation to build from in a couple of years time.
Admittedly, there is no guarantee that things would play out in that exact way, but the evidence so far does seem to point in that direction, so these sort of scenarios ought to be coming into Carvalho’s mind as he considers his next move.
At 19-years-old, Carvalho certainly has time on his side when it comes his career. You feel that now, he must use it wisely.