Fulham began the the 2021-22 Championship season like a high-speed train as they steamrolled through teams to go unbeaten in their first five matches.
Aside from a draw with Middlesbrough on the opening day, the Cottagers racked up four successive victories against Huddersfield Town, Millwall, Hull City and Stoke City and perhaps the standout player in that period wasn’t Aleksandar Mitrovic but it was Fabio Carvalho.
After appearing in some cup games earlier last season, Carvalho was thrown into the mix in the Premier League by Scott Parker at the back end of the campaign when the Cottagers were close to being relegated from the top flight.
The teenager had excelled at under-23 level at just 18 years old and he repaid the faith shown in him by Parker just days after the club’s drop into the Championship was confirmed when he netted his first senior goal against Southampton.
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Carvalho was always likely to be in and around the first-team this season but the arrival of Marco Silva as head coach will have only strengthened his chances, with the attacking midfielder born in Portugal much like his new manager.
After featuring in pre-season, Carvalho was flung into the starting line-up against Middlesbrough and started in all five league matches in August – his impact was immediate as he scored three times and assisted one goal in that time period.
Performances like that get you noticed and with Carvalho’s deal expiring at the end of the season, panic stations began to set in with fans in regards to the youngster’s future – even with Silva revealing that speculation will not affect Carvalho.
A plethora of teams have been linked – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Leeds United, Southampton just to name a few, but as Football League World exclusively reported this week it’s now Liverpool who have entered the running for the 19-year-old.
With all the clubs linked with Carvalho it could be an intense tug of war, and if you have to think about his short-term future in terms of game-time then you could argue that staying at Fulham for a bit longer is the best option.
But Liverpool’s interest is an intriguing one as you only have to look at the development of Harvey Elliott – who they also got from Fulham – to see that Jurgen Klopp is keen to give young players time on the pitch if they’re good enough.
Following a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, Elliott was in Klopp’s starting 11 at the beginning of the campaign before a horrific injury and Carvalho was showing the electric kind of form that Elliott himself was producing for Rovers last season – if not better.
It’s only a small sample size to look at as the England youth international has not been seen since the September international break, owing to a foot injury, but Carvalho is definitely an exciting talent.
Fulham have a bit of a dilemma though – with no new contract signed yet with things going quiet on that front, do the club cash in to a Premier League side or risk losing him for free at the end of the season?
It’s a tricky one to navigate but if Liverpool is Carvalho’s destination then from what we’ve seen with the likes of Elliott, Curtis Jones and Trent Alexander-Arnold over the last few years, there probably won’t be many better big teams to go to in terms of his potential development.